Oh to be a fly on the wall at that forthcoming Peterborough United meeting between chairman and manager re the January transfer window.
Five defeats in 30 competitive matches this season suggests there isn’t a lot wrong with a playing squad assembled with almost indecent haste last summer, but the current 10-match unbeaten run masks some indifferent results. Are Posh wobbling or are they having a breather before reinforcements arrive in the time for the new year push?
This run includes just one League One win against rock bottom AFC Wimbledon and three draws in two competitions against struggling Bradford City. As a result Posh have started to look behind them as a chasing pack led by Charlton and Grant McCann’s Doncaster Rovers close the gap relentlessly. While Posh have been frustrated by a high number of draws, McCann’s men have won four games in succession without conceding a goal - the former Posh boss lost his job at the ABAX Stadium last February after four draws in a row.
Current Posh boss Steve Evans is an avowed shopper in the January sales and will doubtless seek to do business again having seemingly lost faith in several of those he signed just six months ago. Top of his list, now that Sebastien Bassong appears to have disappeared alongside Josh Yorwerth, will be central defensive cover, and maybe even a new goalkeeper because the last two matches have seen blunders from two different number ones that would have made Bart Griemink blush. Mark Tyler might just have to step up his training this week.
Yesterday’s (December 15) 2-2 draw at Shrewsbury, a point secured after conceding in the second minute and equalising for the second time in the 91st minute, was far from a disaster in foul conditions and against a team with a decent home record who welcomed a new manager before the game, but it was a contest Posh would probably have won had they not arrived in Shrosphire bearing seasonal gifts.
Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman should have done better with both home goals. He dived in slow motion after 90 seconds when failing to deal with a hardly well-struck Greg Docherty shot from 25 yards that skipped off the greasy turf and his rush from his goalline to confront non-existent danger on the hour allowed Fejiri Okenabirhie the opportunity to deliver an excellent finish from a most difficult angle.
That goal looked to have beaten a Posh team whose heavy recent workload - some of it avoidable - had started to tell, but they rallied to grab an injury time equaliser from defender Rhys Bennett after a mighty goalmouth scramble following a quickly taken corner, one that might have been wrongly awarded. Matt Godden had equalised the early goal by despatching the one cross from Marcus Maddison that located a team-mate, but then managed to strike the crossbar from six yards 20 minutes from time after the best Posh move of the match - another Christmas present for the hosts.
Watching Posh put together the fine five-man move that created Godden’s missed opportuninty was proof of the passing talent that exists within the squad. The one decent first-half move ended with Ivan Toney heading Joe Ward’s cross straight at home keeper Steve Arnold, but securing enough possession and then not frittering it away quickly remains a problem.
As a result Posh tend to play in fits and starts. It’s easy to recall some great goals that came from spectacular strikes or excellent passing sequences on the breakaway, but tougher to remember a single game when weaker opponents - and there are plenty of them - have been put under the cosh for 90 minutes. Even that win over the ailing Wombles required a touch of genius to finally deliver three points.
Posh were described as the ‘Liverpool of League One’ by the opposition manager ahead of this game which was a flattering description, but a measure of the regard the likes of Toney, Godden, Maddison and Siriki Dembele are held in the lower divisions.
But it wasn’t so much their quality that rescued this game. This point was won by a refusal to be beaten and a desire to extend a fantastic away record. Spirit and desire that will have to be matched by better decision-making and fewer errors if Posh are to get where they want to be in May.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Joe Ward, Colin Daniel, Ryan Tafazolli, Rhys Bennett, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed (sub Jamie Walker, 71 mins), Marcus Maddison, Siriki Dembele (sub George Cooper, 57 mins), Matt Godden (sub Jason Cummings, 77 mins), Ivan Toney.
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Jason Naismith, Mark O’Hara, Matty Stevens.
Shrewsbury: Steve Arnold, Mat Sadler, Omar Beckles, Luke Waterfall, James Bolton, Greg Docherty, Anthony Grant, Josh Laurent (sub Shaun Whalley, 62 mins, sub Lee Angol, 87 mins), Ollie Norburn, Aaron Holloway (sub Lennell John-Lewis, 71 mins), Fejiri Okenabirhie.
Unused substitutes: Joe Coleman, Ryan Haynes, Alex Gillead, Ryan Sears.
Goals: Posh - Godden (12 mins), Bennett (90 + 1 min).
Shrews - Docherty (2 mins), Okenabirhie (60 mins).
Cautions: Posh -Cummings (foul).
Shrews - Grant (foul).
Referee: Michael Salisbury 7
Attendance: 5,393 (299 Posh).