New Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson’s best-laid plans were scuppered by a red card for playmaker Lee Tomlin on the stroke of half-time in today’s 1-0 League One home defeat at the hands of Plymouth today (February 2).
Tomlin was shown two yellow cards in the space of three minutes to reduce Posh to 10 men for the entire second period. Plymouth went on to win the match with a goal three minutes from time by Ruben Lamieras.
Ferguson, who was given a fine welcome by Posh fans on his return to the ABAX Stadium, wasn’t impressed with his side’s first-half performance, but was about to change shape and personnel at the break when Tomlin placed an arm on Plymouth defender Ryan Edwards whose dramatic topple was followed by an inevitable dismissal. Posh started with a midfield diamond, but switched to wing-backs for the second-half.
Ferguson was pleased with the efforts of his 10 men in the second-half, but the defeat means Doncaster are now just two points behind sixth-placed Posh ahead of a clash at the Keepmoat Stadium next Saturday (February 9). Doncaster also have two games in hand.
“Lee shouldn’t have got involved,” Ferguson said of the red card. “I could see what he was trying to do. He was separating Ivan Toney from a defender, but why give the refere a decision to make? The defender went down as though he’d been struck by a hammer, but that’s what some players do.
“I was going to change shape and make two different substitutions at half time. I was going to play with wing-backs as we did and with 11 players I’m sure we would have given them problems.
“The lads did the best they could after the break. I said to them at half-time to stay in the game and our crowd would get them over the line and they almost did. The crowd were great, but it was very disappointing for them and us to lose to a late goal. My reception was great also.
“We had restricted their chances pretty well, but Lameiras has quality in his left foot and he stuck the chance away. We battled well, but there is no escaping the fact that it’s a bad result and that we created our own problems. I fancied we would win today if we did the right things for 90 minutes.
“We started the game well, but when they matched us up the game got scruffy. It was quite boring actually. I wasn’t happy that we ran with the ball too often in midfield as playing a diamond needs players to take one touch and get it to the spare men who will usually be on the wing. Ivan Toney struck a good free kick and Siriki Dembele was played in by Lee Tomlin, but other than that we didn’t threaten enough.
“Joe Ward always looking to turn back, but when out wide in the second-half he was excellent and delivered some great crosses. A point would have been a good return after what happened,
“It has been a disruptive week for the club, but footballers just have to get on with it. We now have a free week to work on things before a big game next weekend.
“That was always going to be a big game no matter what this result. We’ll plan well, but we can’t leave what we work on, on the training ground. We have to take it onto the pitch.”
Dembele limped out of the game at half-time with an injury. Daniel Lafferty was also injured late on and both will be assessed on Monday.
Midfielder Callum Cooke picked up a dead leg, but should train on Monday.