Who were the big winners and unfortunate losers in Peterborough United's EFL Trophy draw at Wycombe Wanderers?
Leaving aside the obvious suspicion that Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth must be concerned about the lack of depth in his squad here are the biggest winners and most unfortunate losers from a game that somehow finished 1-1 with Posh relying on a late equaliser after dominating most of a one-side encounter.
Harrison Burrows probably should have scored twice with headers – something that emphasises how much freedom the 20 year-old has now been given – but he still delivered the cross of the night which enabled Jonson Clarke-Harris to equalise and send Posh through to the knockout stages. Burrows’ form since moving forward into an attacking midfield position has been eye-opening, although possibly not to Grant McCann who told us all central midfield/number 10 were his best positions. Nothing wrong with giving a 20 year-old who has been at the club for a dozen years the captain’s armband either. It’s another boost to his confidence and it will mean plenty to him.
Time is surely running out for Joel Randall. His last contribution last night was to sky a sitter over the crossbar, by some distance. His confidence appears shot and it’s hard to see it coming back, although sarcasm from the terraces (as was apparant on Saturday not last night) is rather self-defeating. Surely we all want him to come good?
Kelland Watts and Ronnie Edwards as a centre-back pairing must have given McCann food for thought. They are both excellent on the ball for a start (penalty kicks aside) and Watts gives left-footed balance to the side which has been lacking all season. They weren’t tested defensively though and it’s likely Watts will get in the starting line-up before Edwards as Josh Knight has done nothing to deserve being left out.
McCann clearly doesn’t have faith in Joe Tomlinson as a left-side defender (this was his first outing since August 30) and the 22 year-old probably didn’t do enough last night to force his way back into the manager’s thinking. His passing quality was indifferent and he scuffed one opportunity to score, or at least cause a decent goalkeeper some problems. He also gave the ball away in the run-up to the Wycombe goal.
Jonson Clarke-Harris remains the scoring daddy of this Posh squad.
LOSERMcCann’s insistence on playing 4-3-3 is a nightmare for proven goalscorer Jack Marriott. He won’t get in ahead of Clarke-Harris, and nor should he, and there is no other position for him. Marriott worked hard last night, but he had zero chances to score despite the team’s dominance. There’s no-one to craft chances out of nothing in this squad like Marcus Maddison did for Marriott in his first season at the club.
Joe Ward was sharp, quick and defensively reliable at right-back. He’s not looked the same in the couple of games he has played further forward in the absence of Kwame Poku. Poku and Ricky-Jade Jones were winners by default last night. They currently look a class above their understudies.
The rulemakers who forced the teams to take part in an utterly pointless penalty shootout to win an extra point which was never having a bearing on the final group stages. Many fans left the ground before it took place. Mind you there were only 567 fans at the game which is desperately poor for a tie that had a lot riding on it. It’s the third lowest crowd to ever watch Posh in a competitive game in the club’s history. The two lowest (279 and 393 v Aldershot and Barnet respectively) were dead Trophy rubbers though.
The 84 Posh fans who boosted the paltry attendance. Travelling to watch Wycombe twice in a handful of days can’t be easy. Even home fans appeared to draw the line at that.
LOSERPosh lost a key player in Ricky-Jade Jones to injury at Wycombe on Saturday and they could well have lost another one last night in Jeando Fuchs. It was a horror tackle by Christian Forino and not properly punished by the officials.