TALKING POINTS: ‘Downwright irritating and frustrating, but Posh actually moved two points closer to promotion, over-confidence and panic set in, Bursik saved a crucial point, bogey team and misguided home fans and their fireworks’
As frustrating, disappointing and downright irritating a 2-2 home draw with Doncaster Rovers was last night (April 27), Posh actually moved two points closer to promotion.
The odds of success remain hugely in Posh’s favour despite a failure to take the first golden opportunity thanks to a quite alarmingly sloppy performance following half an hour of total dominance.
A point at home to their only remaining promotion rivals Lincoln City on Saturday (May 1) guarantees Championship football. If the Imps win, and they are a good side in decent form, they will still need to collect three points at play-off hopefuls Charlton next Tuesday before an easier final day task, albeit against in-form AFC Wimbledon at Sincil Bank.
And if Lincoln do win their last three matches Posh would most probably still go up with a point in their own final game at Doncaster on May 9 thanks to a superior goal difference.
Who wouldn’t have taken such a position of second-place, eight points clear of third, at this stage of the season? Probably only those who have wagered on Posh winning the title as that now seems beyond them. Leaders Hull in all likelihood will now finish top. The Tigers need three points from their final two games to make sure.
OTHER TALKING POINTS FROM THE DRAW WITH DONCASTER.
1) Were Posh guilty of over-confidence after constantly carving great holes in the Doncaster backline in the first quarter of the game? Certainly early strikes from Joe Ward and Sammie Szmodics looked set to deliver a massive win with which to celebrate the huge prize on offer. Posh were pressing well and constantly nicking the ball off dithering opponents. Further goals looked inevitable, but Siriki Dembele stopped dribbling, hopeful first-time flicks didn’t come off and Ward in particular misplaced a crazy amount of passes. Doncaster may be out of form, but they have gifted technical players who enjoyed the level of possession they were granted. Their confidence grew and ultimately they made Posh pay. It was a disturbing loss of control by Posh who had protected a one-goal lead comfortably against much stronger opponents at Charlton at the weekend. And they will need to improve greatly on Saturday as Lincoln are another slick-moving side with plenty of energy and speed. This promotion race is far from over.
2) Posh goalkeeper Josef Bursik made a couple of smart stops in the second-half to stop Doncaster taking the lead. They were crucial interventions as if Posh had lost they could well have needed to win at Doncaster on the final day of the season to ensure promotion. As it is a draw should suffice if the drama extends to the final weekend.
3) Posh appeared to become frantic and panicky in the second-half. There was very little composure and rushed mistakes became commonplace. There were still 30 minutes to go when Doncaster equalised so plenty of time to take advantage of the holes, and they were still there, in the visiting rearguard. Instead Posh tried to force the play too much when patience would surely have led to easier chances. Unfortunately the best one fell to captain Mark Beevers, a man who has never scored for Posh. The deterioration of the playing surface didn’t help. The ball kept sticking under feet, although this didn’t help a Doncaster side who passed the ball nicely after the break either.
4) If Posh could have hand-picked opposition to chase three points for promotion, Doncaster would have been near the top of the list. They had collected five points from a possible 36 before this fixture. They can’t wait for the season to end, but maybe there is something in this bogey team mullarkey. Doncaster have lost just one of their last 11 visits to London Road. They have also beaten Posh in the last two meetings at the Keepmoat Stadium so it’s probably best Posh get the job done this weekend.
5) Those home fans who turned up outside the stadium when Posh were 2-0 up did the team no favours. The fireworks were a massive distraction and Doncaster boss Andy Butler insisted the noise and singing acted as motivation for his players. Why the fans weren’t watching the game at home is a mystery. Hopefully they will take that option on Saturday.