REPORT: HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 3 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 0: Feeble Posh crash to away defeat number 16

There cannot have been a more feeble Peterborough United team on the road than this one.

By Alan Swann
Friday, 4th March 2022, 9:44 pm
Ronnie Edwards of Peterborough United takes on Sorba Thomas of Huddersfield Town. Photo: Joe Dent/
Ronnie Edwards of Peterborough United takes on Sorba Thomas of Huddersfield Town. Photo: Joe Dent/

This 3-0 defeat at Huddersfield Town was number 16 in 18 attempts. The only success was a fortuitous one, ironically at the home of the current manager’s previous club.

And still die-hard fans shell out good money to travel and watch, 326 of them tonight. There should be some sort of compensation package to those who clearly travel in hope rather than expectation. This game was over as a contest after three minutes given Posh have now scored just one goal in their last eight Championship matches.

There was plenty on the match for both teams. The Terriers would move into the automatic promotion places with a victory, while a win for Posh would move them off the bottom, up two places and within five points of safety until tomorrow’s games at least. A draw would have taken them above Derby. Silly optimism from a Posh point of view.

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Posh suffered a pre-match blow when in-form centre-back Frankie Kent was ruled out by a viral infection. Mark Beevers returned to the starting line-up for the first time in a Championship match since January 25. They received another blow just before kick off when goalkeeper Steven Benda fell ill and was replaced by Dai Cornell. Two of the first names on the current teamsheet ruled out, a typical piece of bad luck for a struggling side, but hardly result-changing given the pair have been involved in numerous away losses.

Beevers picked up the captaincy as manager Grant McCann left regular skipper Oliver Norburn on the substitutes’ bench as he kept faith with all the available members of the team that started the game against Manchester City.

It took City 68 minutes to score twice against Posh. It took Huddersfield just seven minutes to get two goals in front.

To be fair the fixture planners had not been kind to Posh. They were back in action three days after running themselves into the ground against top-class opposition. while a Huddersfield side brim full of confidence on an unbeaten run of 15 Championship games had their feet up all week. They could have put their feet up for another 90 minutes and still won.

Cornell made a fine to keep out a Sorba Thomas shot and a follow-up from Lewis O’Brien was blocked by a defender, but Danel Sinani was left alone to curl home a beauty from 20 yards for 1-0. A Tom Lees header from the home side’s first corner made it 2-0.

Posh tried to play some football and a neat move involving Hayden Coulson and Sammie Szmodics led to a half chance for Kwame Poke which was poked wide.

But it was passive, defensive fayre which forced McCann to make a 26th minute substitution with Norburn coming on for Poku. McCann could have removed any number of players. He might even considered taking one of three centre-backs off with his side 2-0 down, but no.

Norburn’s first involvement was to pick up a caution for a poor challenge. A minute later terrible control from Szmodics enabled centre-back Ollie Turton to advance and strike a deflected shot that looped over Cornell and hit the crossbar.

Duane Holmes was the next to try his luck, skipping past a couple of weak tackles before shooting wide from 20 yards.

Ten minutes before the break Szmodics did well to win possession on the edge of the home area and was bundled over for a free kick which Joe Ward fired over the bar. Ricky-Jade Jones, who sat frustratingly deep at times, enjoyed one strong run down the left wing which drew a foul and then he saw a shot from 18 yards blocked after a Szmodics pass.

Huddersfield seemed content to conserve energy ahead of tougher games to come.

McCann made a second change at the break with Jack Marriott replacing Grant. Marriott saw a shot on the turn deflected for a corner which Ward promptly curled out of play. It was that sort of night, one seeen too often this season.

It should have been 3-0 on 55 minutes when Thomas reached Harry Toffolo’s fine left wing cross, but he went for a glorious first time finish when he had time to control and shoot.

The hosts carved Posh open again moments later, but Danny Ward shot straight at Cornell.

Posh were allowed to have plenty of the ball, but the build-up was pedestrian. Szmodics decided to let fly from 25 yards, but just cleared the crossbar.

Lewis O’Brien hit the target from a similar distance 20 minutes from time, but Cornell made a fine save. No matter as another poorly defended corner led to a third goal. Toffolo shrugged Szmodics off at the far post to nod the ball back to centre-back Lees who nodded his second goal of the night.

Some rare aggression from Coulson led to a half chance for Marriott, but a defender raced back to block.

And that was that until Beevers made a great sliding tackle in the final minute.

Posh huffed and puffed, but without showing any quality. It must have been tough for midfield maestro, and big-game tormentor of Huddersfield from the Posh past, McCann to watch.

Posh: Dai Cornell, Josh Knight, Ronnie Edwards, Mark Beevers, Joe Ward, Hayden Coulson, Jeando Fuchs. Jorge Grant (sub Jack Marriott, 46 mins), Sammie Szmodics, Kwame Poku (sub Oliver Norburn, 26 mins), Ricky-Jade Jones (sub Jonson Clarke-Harris, 68 mins).

Unused substitutes: Callum Morton, Bali Mumba, Harrison Burrows.

Huddersfield: Lee Nicholls, Harry Toffolo, Matty Pearson, Ollie Turton, Tom Lees, Danel Sinani (sub Carel Eiting, 60 mins), Lewis O’Brien (sub, Jordan Rhodes, 77 mins), Duane Holmes (sub Tino Anjorin, 71 mins), Sorba Thomas, Jon Russell, Danny Ward.