Peterborough United cruised into the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-0 win at League Two side Exeter tonight (December 4).
Second-half goals from Ivan Toney and Jason Cummings secured a comfortable and deserved win at St James Park. Posh created the chances to win by many more goals and struck the woodwork twice.
Marcus Maddison created both goals with wonderful, but very different, crosses from the right wing.
The real Posh stars tonight were the 14 fans who paid £42 apiece to make the 476-mile, 10-hour round trip on the official supporters coach. They did receive chocolate and coffee from the Posh owners as a reward for their dedication as did the 65 other visiting fans who found their way to Devon.
Posh boss Steve Evans sprang a surprise with the number of changes he made, or didn’t make in this case. Eight who started the FA Cup tie with Bradford City started again, while Exeter fielded just five first-team regulars. Goalkeeper Conor O’Malley midfielder George Cooper and striker Cummings were the men to step up as Aaron Chapman, Siriki Dembele and Matt Godden made way.
But only in a 10-minute spell during the first-half did Posh create the chances their obvious superiority demanded.
Cummings was the first to spurn a chance after accepting a fine first-time pass from Cooper in the 20th minute. His attempted dink over home ‘keeper James Haman appeared unnecessary and it duly failed.
Two minutes later Haman’s poor kick reached Louis Reed close to the halfway line and his first-time strike looked goalbound until drifting off course late and running into a post.
Cummings then saw a shot booted away by Hamon after a fine run and pass from Alex Woodyard and Ivan Toney then met a fine Colin Daniel cross and watched his header loop over Hamon only for Dean Moxey to race back and hook superbly off the line.
Exeter’s threat was carried entirely by striker Tristan Abrahams and he almost snatched an unlikely lead 10 minutes before the break after racing beyond the Posh back four, but O’Malley was off his line rapidly to make a good save.
Posh should have scored three minutes into the second half when an innocuous chip was inexplicably left by the home defence. Cummings was through, but dithered long enough for Aaron Martin to get back and tackle.
Within two minutes Maddison was desperately unlucky see a cracking 25 yard free kick smack the crossbar.
It looked like being one of those nights for Posh until the 67th minute when a short corner led to a superb cross from Maddison leaving Toney to head home from close range. Toney had forced the corner with a fierce shot which Hamon diverted behind. Maddison had been the provider again.
Posh continued to dominate and a second goal 13 minutes from time came as no surprise. Nor did the identity of the creator as Maddison dribbled into the penalty area before delivering a lovely chipped cross to the far post where Cummings was waiting to head home from close range.
Thankfully there was to be no repeat of Saturday’s late FA Cup collapse and only Posh looked like scoring further goals.
Late substitute Godden was most unlucky to see a fierce drive superbly saved by Hamon in injury time.
Posh are now into the last 16. The draw takes place on Saturday afternoon (December 8).
Posh: Conor O’Malley, Joe Ward, Colin Daniel, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed, Marcus Maddison, George Cooper (sub Jamie Walker, 86 mins), Jason Cummings (sub Matt Godden, 81 mins), Ivan Toney (sub Mark O’Hara 90 + 3 mins)
Unused substitutes, Aaron Chapman, Siriki Dembele, Jason Naismith, Sebastien Bassong.
Exeter: James Hamon, Craig Woodman (sub, Jack Sparkes, 63 mins), Aaron Martin, Lee Martin (Dara O’Shea, 78 mins), Matt Jay (sub Jonathan Forte, 86 mins), Jimmy Oates, Tristan Abrahams, Dean Moxey, Chiedozie Ogbene, Archie Collins, Will Dean.
Unused substitutes: Felix Norman, Jordan Tillson, Joel Randall, Jordan Dyer.
Goals: Posh - Toney (67 mins), Cummings (77 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Toney (unsportsmanlike conduct), Maddison (foul). Woodyard (foul).
Exeter - Ogbene (unsportsmanlike conduct), Dean (foul).
Referee: Alan Young 7.
Attendance: 746 (79 Posh).