REPORT: Peterborough United 2, Ipswich Town 1: Posh power to an impressive victory over the Tractor Boys
Posh started slowly and fell behind to a James Norburn strike, but top scorer Johnson Clarke-Harris equalised before the break and Joe Ward won the game with a terrific free-kick early in the second-half.
Posh would have won by more, but for some fine saves by giant Ipswich ‘keeper Tomas Holy. In contrast Posh ‘keeper had little to do until saving well from Troy Parrott a minute from time.
There was a shock change to the Posh starting line-up as Mo Eisa replaced Siriki Dembele, presumably the dashing forward’s knee and back issues remain a concern.
This fixture has happy memories for Eisa who scored his first Posh goal in a 2-2 draw last season.
Ipswich made four changes to the side that played well and beat Blackpool at the weekend. They packed their side with experience and stuck two up top with the assumption long balls would be in order.
Former Posh star Gwion Edwards was left on the bench.
Posh have built an excellent home record on a strong defence as well as their attacking potency, but they were unsettled as the visitors pumped the ball long and straight.
It resulted in a sixth minute goal from Norwood after a catalogue of Posh errors. Nathan Thompson let the ball fly over his head, Frankie Kent challenged for a header, lost it and then hampered Mark Beevers’ attempt to head clear.
The ball fell to Teddy Bishop who found Norwood with a neat pass. The striker hit his shot firmly, but Pym’s angles were all wrong and the ball beat him at his near post.
Posh responded brightly and enjoyed the wide open spaces on the flank offered by an Ipswich midfield diamond. Dan Butler was particularly prominent and worked well in tandem with Reece Brown.
Ipswich were perhaps fortunate not to receive a red card after Downes flew into Butler, but the left back didn’t let the rough and tumble frustrate him
A mistake by Holy almost enabled Mo Eisa to covert a Clarke-Harris flick-on, but the giant number one recovered well to save.
Eisa also forced Holy into a comfortable save before shooting over.
Posh were playing well and richly deserved their 39th minute equaliser when Clarke-Harris powered home an accurate downward header from Butler’s cross.
Eisa again tested Holy in the 11th second of the second-half after Ipswich had replaced goalscorer Norwood with Edwards. A change of shape ensued.
But Posh were not to be denied for long. A foul on Clarke-Harris on the edge of the Ipswich area was punished by a superb 20-yard set-piece strike from Ward.
Ipswich were better for the change of formation though and certainly saw more of the ball, but Posh still created the better chances.
Eisa beat Holy to a long punt, but covering defenders kept him out and Szmodics played an elongated 1-2 with Clarke-Harris, but couldn’t quiote convert a fierce cross from close range.
Szmodics raced clear with 20 minutes to go, but couldn’t direct his shot past Holy.
Posh made a triple sub in the 73rd minute taking off Brown, Ward and Eisa, all of whom had played well.
Szmodics again almost scored a third Posh goal, but his shot was well blocked, with a hand according to the home side..
Holy the dived full lenght to keep out another cracking strike from the edge of the area by Szmodics.
Ipswich rarely threatened, but Pym made a top save from a close-range Troy Parrott strike and then Dozell’s follow-up.
The win, and a quickfire double over the Tractor Boys, moved Posh to within three points off top spot.
Posh: Christy Pym, Dan Butler, Mark Beevers, Nathan Thompson, Frankie Kent, Joe Ward (sub Idris Kanu, 73 mins), Jack Taylor, Reece Brown (sub Ethan Hamilton, 73 mins), Mo Eisa (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 73 mins) , Sammie Szmodics, Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Unused subs: Dan Gyollai, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Niall Mason.
Ipswich: Tomas Holy, Luke Chambers, Mark McGuiness, Luke Woolfenden, Stephen Ward, Flynn Downes, Alan Judge (sub Josh Harrop, 64 mins), Andre Dozzell, James Norwood (sub Gwion Edwards, 46 mins), Teddy Bishop (sub Freddie Sear, 79 mins), Troy Parrott
Unused subs: David Cornell, Myles Kenlock, Aaron Drinan, Luke Matheson.
Goals: Posh - Clarke-Harris (39 mins), Ward (50 mins).
Ipswich - Norwood (6 mins).
Cautions: Ipswich - Downes (foul), Dozzell (foul).
Referee: Ben Toner 7