ON-THE-WHISTLE-REPORT: Peterborough United 2, Northampton Town 0: Early double settles the derby in Posh's favour
Two goals in 90 seconds settled a local derby with huge ramifications for both Peterborough United and Northampton Town today (April 2).
Skipper Jack Baldwin and top scorer Jack Marriott scored in the 12th and 14th minutes as Posh moved back into the League One play-off places, while pushing Cobblers closer to relegation.
It was a decent first-half followed by a low-key second period as Cobblers put up precious little fight. Both sets of supporters spent much of the second-half abusing visiting boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
Cobblers were the better side until falling behind and Posh cruised through the second half.
A lot of pre-match commentary revolved around this being the worst Cobblers team for some time, but their start to the game belied that information.
The visitors started quickly, kept Posh pinned back and used their physical advantage to dominate. Matt Crooks sent an early header straight at Posh ‘keeper Conor O’Malley following a corner and Sam Foley headed another decent opportunity wide.
A mistake by Leo Da Silva Lopes, who was caught in possession, led to a great opportunity for Chris Long, but O’Malley was quickly off his line to save.
Posh have given plenty of out-of-form opponents plenty of encouragement this season, but the game turned with the award of a free kick just inside the home half in the 12th minute.
Liam Shephard launched the ball into the Cobblers’ area and Baldwin met it beyond the defence to head impresssively into the corner.
And 90 seconds later it was 2-0. Another Shephard free kick was won by Andrew Hughes and fell for Jack Marriott to lob over Cobblers’ ‘keeper Richard O’Donnell for his 31st goal of the campaign. It was a stunning finish from the division’s top scorer.
Posh now played with more confidence and Gwion Edwards, a shock starter for the first time since December 17, was let through on goal by a shocking defensive blunder. Unfortunately Edwards’ lack of match fitness probably found him out and Cobblers’ got back to clear.
Edwards was one of four changes to the Posh starting line-up with Joe Ward, Baldwin and Leo Da Silva Lopes all stepping up.
Cobblers almost pulled a goal back following a moment of madness from Marcus Maddison who played the ball straight to Crooks inside the Posh penalty area. Baldwin dived in to clear up the mess.
Maddison was then cautioned for simulation at the start of the second half before delivering a lovely chip across goal which Marriott headed in from an offside position.
Posh coasted through most of the second-half in a game devoid of the usual derby atmosphere.
There was one warning for Posh when substitute Kevin van Veen’s cross was steered onto a post by Foley, but all hopes of a comeback were shattered by a red card for visiting skipper Ash Taylor 11 minutes from time who tripped Marriott on the edge of the area, presumably for deliberately denying a goal-scoring opportunity.
Posh moved up to fifth ahead of a crunch game at play-off rivals Plymouth on Saturday (April 7).
Posh: Conor O’Malley, Liam Shephard, Andrew Hughes, Jack Baldwin, Steven Taylor, Chris Forrester (sub, Michael Doughty, 90 + 3 mins), Leo Da Silva Lopes, Joe Ward, Gwion Edwards (sub George Cooper, 76 mins), Marcus Maddison (sub Junior Morias, 88 mins), Jack Marriott.
Unused substitutes: Jonathan Bond, Lewis Freestone, Anthony Grant, Danny Lloyd.
Northampton: Richard O’Donnell, Shay Facey, Ash Taylor, Leon Barnett, Jordan Turnbull, Sam Foley (sub Gboly Ariyibi, 74 mins), Matt Crooks (sub Joe Bunney, 87 mins), Matt Grimes, Daniel Powell (sub Kevin van Veen, 56 mins), Sam Hoskins, Chris Long.
Unused substitutes: David Connell, Brendan Maloney, David Buchanan, Shaun McWilliams.
Goals: Posh - Baldwin (12 mins), Marriott (14 mins).
Sending-off: Cobblers - Taylor (denying a goal-scoring opportunity).
Cautions: Posh - Maddison (simulation).
Cobblers - Powell (foul), Hoskins (foul), Grimes (foul), Crooks (foul), van Veen (foul).
Referee: Michael Salisbury 7
Attendance: 8,619 (1,435, Cobblers).