TALKING POINTS: Posh can’t expect to make any progress if they keep on making the same old mistakes
Peterborough United need to snap out of this self-destructive habit on the road and do it very quickly if they want to make progress as a Championship club.
At half-time things were looking good for Posh, they had competed well in the game, played some neat stuff at times and had defended reasonably well. Coventry had some good moments, particularly towards the end of the half as the height of Viktor Gyokeres and Marytn Waghorn caused the centre-backs problems. Posh will have to accept there will be difficult moments in most games this season considering the step-up they have made, the key will be to show the grit to come through them.
It is exactly that grit that went missing in the second half at Luton, in the second half at Reading, in the second half at Sheffield United and in the second half last night.
The half time whistle came at a good time for Posh, just when Coventry were building up a head of steam and looked like making the breakthrough. The wingbacks had been too much for Butler and Thompson to handle all half and the response at half-time was to push up even further to try and pin them back but as a result, Todd Kane and Ian Maatsen just found even more space. Posh must have been hit on the counter attack at least three times in the first 15 minutes of the half.
When the first went in, Posh were unlucky as Ronnie Edwards had made a brilliant goal line clearance from Martyn Waghorn, only for it to fall to the feet of Gustavo Hamer for a tap-in.
Yet they didn’t keep believing and, just four minutes later, Butler was caught out again on the left and Gyokeres was given the freedom of the Coventry Building Society Arena to tap-in. The third goal was an unlucky deflection off Frankie Kent but by that point, Posh had mentally thrown in the towel.
That is something that has happened in almost every away game this season, despite Darren’s Ferguson’s regular cries that it must not happen again. He must be tearing his hair out because Posh look a Championship side at home but away they look like most League One sides would turn them over; 54 points on Posh’s home patch is far too much to ask for.
2. What separates Posh from the established Championship sides is the final third. The first half panned out in a similar manner as against Reading. Posh looked decent and well in the game but did not carry a threat. When Coventry came forward, they looked dynamic, had runners off in all directions and more often than not played their way through Posh’s low block. When Posh went forward, they looked static and players on the ball did not have options. Clarke-Harris looked well up for the match, albeit because he knows an enforced break is coming, but any good work he did was undone by the fact there were no options to pick out when he did win the ball.
3. As if the light currently being shone on Posh’s summer recruitment could be any brighter. There is the possibility that Siriki Dembele could be set for a spell on the sidelines, which would be nothing short of a disaster. With no Marriott, no Randall, no Dembele and likely no Clarke-Harris, Posh are looking wafer-thin upfront. Surely they need to be looking into the free agent market. Even if the absolute best-case scenario transpired, Clarke-Harris is the club’s only senior centre-forward, for a club scrapping for its life, that will not do.
4. Let’s see more of Kwame Poku. Darragh has been keen to say that we will see the best of Poku in 2022 but as discussed, they can’t afford to wait that long now. He featured in a league squad for just the third time tonight but let’s not forget he is no green kid. He has played 64 league matches for Colcehster in the last two seasons and has been capped at international level for Ghana. He terrified the wingbacks with his running at times. He needs to sharpen his final product but there looks to be a player Posh can work with in there.
5. Let’s keep an open mind about Clarke-Harris’ suspension. Yes, having no striker is a terrible situation to be in but Posh have looked so abject on the road, is a different way of playing not worth seeing? Szmodics coming in up-front, if the ban comes in, would give the side more movement and may allow them to press higher as the whole front-line would then be highly mobile. It’s worth a try, 0 points out of 15 suggests the current plan isn’t working.
6. Are the set-piece jitters gone? That is perhaps too early to say, especially in a match that Clarke-Harris had to clear a shot off the line from a free-kick in, but I found myself relaxing a tad more when balls came into the box. Cornell is commanding and that authority seems to be giving the backline more confidence because let’s face it, height was never a problem with Beevers and Knight in the side, yet the team has gotten smaller with Kent and Edwards in recent weeks but the set-piece defending seems to have taken a step in the right direction.