Talking points: ‘A great win and a tantalising glimpse into a glorious future involving high-class teenage defenders and forwards, the outstanding attitude of back-up players, and a couple of interesting facts’
Some mugs saw today’s (May 9) Posh starting line-up and lumped on the 5/2 and better on offer on Doncaster Rovers winning this game on the final day of the League One season.
Manager Darren Ferguson made nine changes and fielded a team with nine League One goals between them this season - five had been scored by winger Joe Ward.
A full-strength Posh side had failed to beat these opponents at home when it really mattered less than two weeks ago and now there was nothing to play for. A promoted squad would have been forgiven for dreaming of cold lagers on the beach (when it’s allowed of course) rather than sweating buckets in a game that mattered more to a retiring 40 year-old home player in a 695th game for his club than anyone else.
Or so we thought. But Fergie knew different, and so did the bookies presumably, as Posh ripped the home side to pieces in a first-half better than anything else seen this season. There was no sentiment for evergreen Rovers pro James Coppinger and no taking it easy on a host club who were very gracious throughout towards a promoted side managed by a former boss.
Of course strange results often happen at the end of a season so taking this performance at face value is dangerous, but my goodness some of those involved did their reputations and future prospects no harm at all.
A couple of those same mugs turned up at the Keepmoat Stadium expecting to watch a half-paced stroll through the motions from a side who didn’t return to post-celebration training until Friday. Instead a 4-1 win and a tantalising glimpse into a potentially glorious future was witnessed.
OTHER TALKING POINTS...
1) To hear legendary Posh centre-back Gaby Zakuani rave about 18-year-old Ronnie Edwards on BBC Radio after this game was fascinating. Edwards is a much different defender than Zakuani. but the double promotion-winner clearly recognises talent. “It’s not just the fact he’s ridiculously cool on the ball that makes him stand out,” Zakuani stated. “He’s also an excellent tackler. You might notice it so much because he reads the game so well he always seems to be in the right place. He’s a frightening talent.” Posh boss Darren Ferguson clearly agrees and described Edwards, who played in the middle of a back three, a position that currently suits him perfectly, as ‘one of the best young players I’ve worked with.’ His performance today would not have altered that opinion.
2) Ricky-Jade Jones has had a frustrating season. Heralded as the ‘next big thing’ to hail from the Academy this was going to be a breakthrough season for another 18 year-old, until an operation to ease the pain of a growing spurt was deemed necessary. It’s been impossible to break into a side with Jonson Clarke-Harris, Sammie Szmodics and Siriki Dembele all playing so well, but boy did he grab his first League One start of the season with both hands, or rather feet. Jones’ sheer pace makes it easy for him to press defenders, but there was plenty of skill on show alongside the speed and the finish for his first Football League goal was delightful.
3) Posh co-owner Darragh MacAnthony has tried to keep Adler Nascimento out of the spotlight for fear of alerting other clubs to his 16 year-old Portuguese talent. Nascimento came on for the final 20 minutes today and looked right at home from the start. It takes some nerve to take experienced defenders on rather than play the simple pass, but this teenager looked fearless. Remember the name.
4) It wasn’t all about the kids today. There were probably a couple on the pitch who might not be with the club next season, something that might be confirmed with the publication of a retained list early in the week. But if Niall Mason and Louis Reed in particular leave the club they should depart with heads held high. They were both excellent today in terms of performance and commitment. Remember Reed was deemed surplus to requirements at the start of the season. He was asked to take a paycut and yet his commitment has never wavered.
5) The four goals scored by Posh took them to 83 for the League One season, the most in the division, to guarantee the club’s reputation as the ‘great entertainers’ remains intact. Mo Eisa’s superb opening goal was the 100th of the season in all competitions. Ferguson’s approach won’t change no matter how hard next season gets and nor should he.
6) The last time Posh scored four in the first-half of a Football League away game was at Barnet in September 1998. Posh won that game 9-1.
7) Posh finished on 87 points. Only one Posh team has achieved more in a third tier season (89, 2008-09).