REPORT: Peterborough United 1, Coventry City 4: Overpowered and outplayed by an outstanding visiting side

Peterborough United suffered at the hands of a slick Coventry City side for the second time this season.

By Alan Swann
Saturday, 15th January 2022, 5:15 pm
Josh Knight of Peterborough United in action against Coventry City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Josh Knight of Peterborough United in action against Coventry City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

The Sky Blues won 4-1 at the Weston Homes Stadium today (January 15) to accompany their 3-0 home win earlier in the season.

Posh played okay in possession for the opening 45 minutes, but trailed 2-1 at the break. They were overpowered and outplayed in the second-half which saw Coventry hit the post twice and force two fine saves from goalkeeper Dai Cornell.

Strangely, for such a good footballing side who were superior for so long, they relied on two Posh errors for their half-time advantage and own goal from Nathan Thompson nine minutes from time to seal their thoroughly deserved win. Former Posh striker Matt Godden added a fourth goal in added time after a rapid counter attack - it was his second of the game.

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Jorge Grant had pulled a goal back for Posh eight minutes before the break with a fine finish, but all hopes of a full comeback ended when Siriki Dembele left the action early in the second-half, presumably with an injury. He’d limped out of the pre-match warm-up leading to concerns he might not even start the game.

Posh made just one change from the starting line-up with Bali Mumba replacing Joe Tomlinson at left-back.

Cornell saw off the threat of new goalkeeper signing Steven Benda, but there was a positional change within the midfield diamond as Jorge Grant and Jack Taylor swapped places with the former playing at the tip.

Matt Godden skippered a Coventry side who were without a couple of key defenders.

Coventry’s gameplan was clear from kick-off. They pressed relentlessly and when they won the ball back they moved it rapidly and accurately with Posh often left chasing shadows.

And yet it took two errors to gift Coventry their goals. Posh boss Darren Ferguson possibly regretted not changing goalkeepers as Hamer beat Cornell from 30 yards out despite the number one appearing to get two hands on the 16th minute shot.

Taylor had half a chance to level after a sweeping move (and an excellent advantage from referee Keith Stroud) involving Harrison Burrows and Sammie Szmodics ended with a scuffed shot

But on 25 minutes Mumba was pressed and then robbed by Ben Sheaf which enabled Godden to finish expertly.

That prompted a change of shape to a back three for Posh, matching Coventry’s formation, and Posh rallied well enough for Grant and Sammie Szmodics to get shots away at goal, unfortunately straight at visiting ‘keeper Ben Wilson,

Coventry then missed a great chance for 3-0 as Hamer’s pass freed Jamie Allen into the Posh area, but although his lob beat Cornell it drifted wide of a post. The visitors were also guilty of overplaying as Callum O’Hare and Jordan Sibley both passed inaccurately inside when clear shots were available,

Within two minutes Posh had found a lifeline. Taylor did well to win a challenge on the edge of the Coventry area, but not as well as Grant who clipped a terrific shot from 20 yards into the top corner.

That goal woke Coventry up and they dominated the last 10 minutes of the half. Godden poked a shot straght at Cornell and a couple of corners caused issues, but Posh survived.

Posh actually started the second-half on the front foot with one Mumba cross causing a minor issue and Grant blasting wide from 25 yards, but Coventry were soon on top and they went on to issue a second-half pummelling. Why it took until the 81st minute to add a third goal was down to wasteful finishing and Cornell’s athleticism.

Cornell saved well from O’Hare, the same player hit the post from close range as did Hamer after a clever free-kick.

Cornell then thwarted Sibley and crosses were constantly delivered into the area that required last-ditch clearances.

Posh were offering nothing. Substitutions made no difference and the inevitable third goal arrived when Thompson diverted Todd Kane’s cross into his own net.

Coventry were rewarded for more positivity in added time when substitute Victor Gyokeres, who had almost scored with an audacious volley, raced away down the right and pulled the ball back for Godden to finish.

The only consolation for Posh was a late rally from Middlesbrough to beat Reading which at least kept the gap to safety to three points.

Posh: Dai Cornell, Bali Mumba, Josh Knight, Ronnie Edwards, Nathan Thompson, Jack Taylor (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 66 mins), Oliver Norburn, Harrison Burrows, Jorge Grant, Sammie Szmodics (sub Kwame Poku, 80 mins), Siriki Dembele (sub Jonson Clarke-Harris, 59 mins).

Unused subs Steven Benda, Frankie Kent, Joe Tomlinson, Kyle Barker.

Coventry: Ben Wilson, Jake Clarke-Salter, Michael Rose, Jamie Allen, Callum O’Hare, Ben Sheaf, Dom Hyam, Todd Kane, Jordan Shipley (sub Josh Eccles, 90 mins), Gustavo Hamer (sub Victor Gyokeres, 67 mins), Matt Godden

Unused subs: Simon Moore, Kyle McFadzean, Jodi Jones, Martyn Waghorn, Tyler Walker,

Goals: Posh - Grant (37 mins).

Coventry - Hamer (16 mins), Godden (25 mins & 90 + 1 min), Thompson (og, 81 mins).

Cautions: Posh - Norburn (foul), Mumba (foul), Edwards (foul).

Coventry - Hyam (foul).

Referee: Keith Stroud 7

Attendance: 10,282.