REPORT: Peterborough United 7, Accrington Stanley 0: A magnificent seven for Posh as they close the gap at the top.
There are few certainties in football. Mourinho producing boring football teams is one, Posh thrashing Accrington Stanley at London Road is another.
It was 8-2 in 2008, 4-0 last season and now add a 7-0 rout to the record. Posh have beaten Accrington five times out of six in Football League fixtures on this ground by an aggregate of 26-4.
More importantly it was three points for a team who were supposed to be ‘bottling’ promotion. Instead Posh are now just a point off the top with a game in hand on the leaders. Sunderland won again and stay two points behind Posh with a game in hand, but Darren Ferguson’s men have caught up the goal difference advantage the Wearsiders had before kick-off.
It has to be said Accrington were woeful. They were devastated by unavailabilities and it showed, even against a Posh side without Siriki Dembele, but you can only beat what’s placed in front of you and this could turn out to be a statement victory.
Jonson Clarke-Harris helped himself to a hat-trick of tap-ins, the outstanding Sammie Szmodics scored twice with Mo Eisa able to celebrate a first League One goal of the season and Idris Kanu rounding things off with his first League goal for the club.
If Carlsberg did matchdays.....
There was a blow for Posh pre-match as star forward Dembele was absent with a bad back. Harrison Burrows stepped into the side while midfielder Ethan Hamilton was replaced into the starting line-up by Louis Reed.
But Posh problems seemed minor compared to those of the visitors. Both players who scored in the opening day win over Posh - Dion Charles and Tariq Uwakwe - were among many Accrington absentees.
Posh started in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Burrows on the left wing and they almost scored within a minute. Clarke-Harris and Szmodics combined before Joe Ward thumped a shot against the post from 20 yards.
But Posh were not to be denied for long. In the third minute Ward beat his man, centred low and somehow the cross reached Clarke-Harris all alone six yards from goal. He calmy sidefooted into the net.
Posh were on the front foot. They moved the ball quickly and accurately and struck again in the 10th minute. Szmodics did well to nick the ball in his own half. He fed Ward who delivered a superb crossfield pass to Burrows.
Expert chest control from the teenager was followed by an accurate strike which goalkeeper Toby Savin saved. Clarke-Harris pounced. His first shot was well saved, but the ball fell kindly and he tapped home.
Thoughts turned towards a repeat of that eight-goal performance against these opponents when Szmodics made it 3-0 midfway through the half. Reece Brown started this move before Ward sent Szmodics away. He was allowed to waltz unchallenged into the penalty area before firing home.
Accrington were soon making a defensive change and switching to a midfield diamond. The move helped them secure more possession and they carried a set piece threat which included a decent long throw.
Paul Smyth was annoyed not be given a penalty after a coming together with Frankie Kent and Posh ‘keeper Christy Pym made a morale-boosting save from a Joe Burgess free kick before big centre-back Cameron Burgess headed against the bar from a Smyth cross.
Burrows was excellent in the first-half and his fine pass freed Szmodics again, but his lob didn’t have the power to reach the goal.
Michael Nottingham headed an Accrington corner wide in first-half added time.
The visitors missed the first chance of the second-half when Jonny Russell danced into the penalty area, but blazed wide.
And Szmodics was soon showing him how to finish. Burrows played the ball forward and Szmodics shrugged Burgess out of the way before finishing expertly for 4-0 in the 48th minute.
Posh now assumed total control. After some patient passing Nathan Thompson curled wide from the edge of the area and a terrific move involving Louis Reed and Burrows ended with Dan Butler firing in a fierce drive which was well saved.
The inevitable fifth goal arrived in the 64th minute with Ward having a hand in his fourth of the game. His right wing cross was deflected to the far post by a defender where Clarke-Harris was waiting to volley home from very close range.
Key men were immediately substituted by Ferguson, but it made no difference to the flow of the game.
A superb pass from Szmodics freed substitute Eisa and he dribbled past Savin before slotting into an empty net 12 minutes from time. The joy on Eisa’s face as he ended a barren spell in front of goal was matched by the delight of his teammates.
And Posh still weren’t finished. Substitute Niall Mason’s free kick was converted by Kanu seven minutes from time for another milestone goal.
There was time for Hamilton to test Savin from distance and Ricky-Jade Jones also burst into the area before narrowly missing the target.
A magnificent seven was enough though.
Posh: Christy Pym, Dan Butler, Mark Beevers, Nathan Thompson (sub, Nial Mason, 66 mins), Frankie Kent, Joe Ward (sub Idris Kanu, 73 mins), Reece Brown (sub Ethan Hamilton, 74 mins), Louis Reed, Sammie Szmodics, Harrison Burrows (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 74 mins), Jonson Clarke-Harris (sub Mo Eisa, 66 mins).
Unused subs: Dan Gyollai, Frazer Blake-Tracy.
Accrington: Toby Savin, Michael Nottingham, Mark Hughes (sub Jonny Russell, 31 mins), Cameron Burgess, Matt Butcher, Paul Smyth (sub Lewis Mansell, 75 mins), Sean McConville (sub Rhys Fenlon, 75 mins), Joe Maguire, Ben Barclay (sub Adam Phillips, 42 mins), Harvey Rodgers, David Morgan.
Unused subs: Liam Isherwood, Harrison Perritt, Dan Martin,
Posh - Clarke-Harris (3 mins, 10 mins & 64 mins), Szmodics (23 mins & 48 mins), Eisa (78 mins), Kanu (83 mins).
Accrington - Morgan (foul), Maguire (foul).
Referee: Sam Purkiss 7.