REPORT: PETERBOROUGH UNITED 2, QPR 1: Dembele at the death delivers a second win on the spin
Siriki Dembele’s injury-time winner delivered back-to-back Championship wins for Peterborough United for the first time this season today (October 23).
Posh came from behind to beat QPR 2-1 in a pulsating clash at the Weston Homes Stadium. The visitors took the lead five minutes after the break when Ilias Chair netted straight from a corner, but Harrison Burrows equalised within six minutes to set up a thrilling finale.
Both sides pushed hard for the win with QPR enjoying plenty of possession, but Posh carried just as much threat thanks to precise passing, clever movement and speed that unsettled a cumbersome defence.
Posh finished the game so strongly Dembele’s cool finish following a terrific run and pass from Oliver Norburn in the 92nd minute didn’t come as a great surprise.
Posh obviously decided to fight fire with fire. They opted to take on a gifted attacking outfit with a positive line-up themselves. Manager Darren Ferguson changed both his wing-backs with the pace and attacking ability of Joe Ward and Burrows preferred to the superior defensive qualities of Nathan Thompson and Dan Butler. Thompson slipped back into the back three with Josh Knight returning to the substitutes’ bench.
Perhaps inevitably with so much attention on the forwards the first-half remained goalless.
Posh had the ball in the net in the third minute when Sammie Szmodics touched home a Mark Beevers header from a corner, but from an offside position.
And Posh went on to pass the ball pretty well and pretty positively without creating too much to worry QPR ‘keeper Seny Dieng.
The Posh movement troubled a big and strong looking visiting defence and Szmodics sent a tricky volley over the bar in the 19th minute following good work from Ward and Thompson.
A fine Szmodics pass then looked to have sent Burrows through, but fleet-footed Albert Adomah raced back to make a fine tackle.
And slowly QPR worked their way into the game, although it was a couple of errors that gave the visitors a golden chance to open the scoring six minutes before the break.
Ronnie Edwards’ sloppy pass out of defence was intercepted, but there appeared little danger when dangerman Chair let fly at the Posh goal.
But Posh ‘keeper Dai Cornell spilled it before redeeming himself by making a fine save as Lyndon Dykes pounced, only for the ball to run straight to ace marksman Charlie Austin. Remarkably Austin managed to miss a goal protected just by Edwards by some distance.
Chair had earlier spurned a fine chance to shoot from inside the area by passing to the less nimble Dykes and Adomah pounced on a Beevers error and ran unopposed towards the Posh penalty area before failing to beat the first man with the cross.
A couple of minutes earlier Jorge Grant had flashed a 20-yard shot just wide.
QPR started the second-half the stronger, but Posh fashioned out the first chance when a superb Jack Taylor pass found Burrows free on the left, His cross looked set to reach Dembele, but Dieng appeared in the nick of time.
Sixty seconds later QPR took the lead when Chair’s near post corner drifted into the net with suggestions Cornell had been impeded.
Posh replied six minutes later with a goal that included some fine play and a slice of good fortune before Burrows finished expertly from close range. Substitute Idris Kanu laid the ball back to Taylor whose excellent first time flick gave Szmodics a shooting chance. His effort was deflected, but straight to Burrows who slotted home calmly.
Posh should then have taken the lead when Szmodics again found space behind the defence. His low cross reached the unmarked Kanu who shot tamely wide from close range.
It looked a costly error from a replacement who played very well when Dykes bundled the ball over the line from close range. An assistant referee’s flag saved the day for Posh.
Jimmy Dunne sent a free header from a corner straight at Cornell as Posh soaked up plenty of pressure before starting to press forward more often in the final stages.
Taylor was free on the edge of the area and forced a save from Dieng with Dembele shooting disappointingly over the crossbar from the rebound.
But the little wizard made amends after a superb break from midfield by Norburn whose through ball was a precise as Dembele’s finish.
It had been eight-and-a-half years since Posh had won two games in a row at this level, a slightly misleading stat given most of that time was spent in League One, but it could be a sign the club is here to stay.
Posh: Dai Cornell, Harrison Burrows, Mark Beevers, Ronnie Edwards, Nathan Thompson, Joe Ward (sub Idris Kanu, 54 mins), Jack Taylor (sub Dan Butler, 88 mins), Oliver Norburn, Jorge Grant (sub Conor Coventry, 66 mins), Sammie Szmodics, Siriki Dembele
Unused subs: Will Blackmore, Frankie Kent, Josh Knight, Joe Tomlinson.
QPR: Seny Dieng, Albert Adomah, Rob Dickie, Jimmy Dunne, Yoann Barber, Sam McCallum (sub Chris Willock, 82 mins), Dominic Ball (sub Luke Amos, 58 mins), Stefan Johansen, Ilias Chair, Charlie Austin (sub Andre Gray, 66 mins), Lyndon Dykes
Subs: Jordan Archer, Osman Kakay, Jordy de Wijs, Andre Dozzell.
Posh – Burrows (56 mins), Dembele (90 + 2 mins).
QPR – Chair (50 mins).
Referee: Jarrod Gillett 8
Attendance: 12,035 (3,727 QPR).