Move over the ‘Mac Attack’, forget Quinn and Carruthers, Peterborough United have a new deadly duo, one seemingly intent on firing the club to promotion.
Jack Marriott and Marcus Maddison are certainly piling up some mightily impressive numbers. It’s 21 goals for Marriott after his double in one of the more impressive Posh results and performances of the League One season yesterday (December 26) and Maddison has a similar number of assists after setting up both of his mate’s goals with passes so deliciously perfect they would have caused Mary Berry to drool.
In fact ‘Maddison to Marriott, goal’ is becoming one of the most oft repeated tweets of 2017. It’s been seen over the festive period more often than ancient Morecambe and Wise footage.
Even Bradford City boss Stuart McCall, getting over back-to-back losses in League One for the first time this season, was moved to admit Posh have the best front three in the league which must have thrilled Danny Lloyd whose fourth goal in three games started this surge to three points, but was in danger of being overlooked amid the adulation for the main men. Who would have thought gifted Gwion Edwards could possibly go unmissed in this particular Posh squad?
But Maddison and Marriott would be the first to admit this victory wasn’t just achieved by their brilliance. Posh were outstanding going forward in the first half as their pace and purpose unsettled a shaky defence on a very tricky playing surface, but they barely broke out of their own half after the break, apart from to score a game-clinching third goal when Maddison inevitably found Marriott with a 40-yard pass which the division’s top scorer promptly lobbed over a stranded home goalkeeper.
Posh had to be resilient and well organised to fend off cross after cross raining into their penalty and they were, led by the coolest man on the pitch Steven Taylor and supported by the excellent Ryan Tafazolli, Andrew Hughes and Alex Penny, the latter delivering comfortably his best display of a short first-team career.
No wonder Posh boss Grant McCann was a happy man after the game, He senses vindication is coming his way after months fending off negativity from fans and those of us who love a statistic, although he will be wary Posh have exactly the same number of points (38) after 24 games as they did at the same stage last season, a campaign that didn’t finish awfully well.
“To think we were considered relegation candidates a few weeks ago,” McCann stated after seeing his side clamber into the play-off places for the first time since early October, two places higher than this time last season.
“We were outstanding going forward in the first-half and could have scored more goals. In the second half we had to show a different side to our game as they were always going to throw everything at us and the boys defended superbly.”
Only Paul Taylor’s 25 yard smack six minutes from time managed to breach a back line that was so strong, goalkeeper Jonathan Bond was forced into just one tricky save, albeit a very good one with his legs after home winger Tyrell Robinson appeared in the penalty area unmarked soon after the re-start.
Posh in contrast created plenty. Playing all three forwards very high up the pitch against the fifth-placed team backed by over 20,000 fans thanks to the £149 season ticket was brave, but designed to take advantage of City’s habit of playing full-backs high up the pitch. Midfielders Chris Forrester and Michael Doughty were charged with supplying the ammunition and both played strongly.
And it worked a treat. Marriott was presented with a one-on-one opportunity courtesy of a marvellous Doughty pass which he spurned, just before Lloyd delivered a terrific finish after pouncing on Marriott’s headed flick in the 14th minute.
Lloyd then smacked the outside of the post before Maddison’s beautiful cross was headed home by Marriott, loitering with intent as usual between two static defenders just past the half hour mark. Even the generosity shown by referee Darren Handley to City couldn’t knock Posh off their stride as the home side managed to miss headed chances in the first half for Romain Vincelot and Robinson, and after the break from Timothee Dieng and Charlie Wyke.
But this was Posh’s day, a big win on Boxing Day and past halfway to fulfil McCann’s request, one boldly made given the form his team were in at the time, to win five games in a row before an FA Cup trip to Villa Park.
It’s not been a grind either. Posh have scored 18 goals in their last five competitive games, the downside of which will lead clubs with open chequebooks flocking to the ABAX Stadium to check out all this Maddison/Marriott hype.
Chairman Darragh MacAnthony insists he will do all he can to keep the pair at the club, but as always money will talk as will an unwillingness to stand in a player’s way if ‘Barcelona and Real Madrid come calling.’
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Alex Penny, Andrew Hughes, Steven Taylor, Ryan Tafazolli, Anthony Grant, Chris Forrester, Michael Doughty, Marcus Maddison, Danny Lloyd (sub, Da Silva Lopes, 79 mins), Jack Marriott.
Unused substitutes: Junior Morias, Conor O’Malley, Liam Shephard, Lewis Freestone, Jermaine Anderson, Idris Kanu.
Bradford City: Rouven Sattelmaier, Tony McMahon, Luke Hendrie (sub Timothee Dieng, 46 mins), Adam Thompson (sub Shay McCarton, 46 mins), Matthew Kilgallon, Romain Vincelot, Nicky Law, Alex Gilliead, Tyrell Robinson, Paul Taylor, Charlie Wyke.
Unused substitutes: Lukas Raeder, Jake Reeves,Jacob Hanson, Nat Knight-Percival, Omari Patrick.
Goals: Posh - Lloyd (14 mins), Marriott (33 mins & 66 mins).
City - Taylor (84 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Maddison (time-wasting), Tafazolli (foul).
City - Thompson (foul).
Referee: Darren Handley 5
Attendance: 21,220 (427 Posh).
MCCall said we whave pace and attacking quality