Peterborough United boss Dave Robertson managed to both blast and praise his players following a 1-1 League One draw with Crewe at The ABAX Stadium tonight (April 14).
Posh were dreadful in the first-half and conceded an early goal to a Crewe side battling against relegation. It was a lead the visitors held comfortably until half-time when Robertson delivered a tongue-lashing to his squad.
It had the desired effect as Conor Washington equalised midway through a half that Posh dominated without managing to find a winning goal. Washington’s strike from the edge of the penalty area was the first Posh goal for 489 minutes - over eight hours of football.
The draw leaves Posh in 10th place with the play-offs hopelessly out of reach. Posh are nine points and 19 goals worse off than sixth-placed Chesterfield and there are just three League One matches remaining.
Robertson tinkered with his formation ahead of tonight’s game. Striker Luke James was dropped to the substitutes’ bench and replaced by attacking midfielder Erhun Oztumer.
“That first-half was nowhere near good enough,” Robertson admitted. “The gaps were too big, the game became too stretched and we played with little energy which just isn’t like us,
“What I said at half-time will remain between me and the players, but the response was good. They played in the second-half like I wanted them to play all game.
“They are professional men and they delivered a manly display. We had 14 shots, eight of them on target, but we couldn’t quite find a second goal. The energy returned to the team, but we need to play like for 90 minutes rather than 45 minutes.
“If we do pass and press like that for an entire game we will score an abundance of goals and that’s what we will aim to do over the last three matches.
“I tinkered with the formation as I wanted to play two ‘number 10s’ in Marcus Maddison and Erhun in the hope that we would create more chances. I felt they both had a positive impact on the game in the second-half as did Conor Washington who had also played well at Swindon.
“We are pressing forward and we are making progress. I won’t accept the season is over until it is mathematically, although we are now obviously a big long shot. We will continue to work hard and try and win the final three games. We will find out who we can develop and who can help us win promotion which will be our aim next season.”
Posh skipper Jack Payne dislocated his shoulder in the first-half and could miss the rest of the season, He will have a scan in the morning (April 15). Winger Jon Taylor again sat out tonight with a knee injury.