It’s unusual to see both camps smiling in the cramped Peterborough United press room after a match.
Posh manager Grant McCann and ace goalscorer Jack Marriott’s biggest concern was how their team didn’t score 10 goals at the ABAX Stadium last night (December 12), while Woking boss Anthony Limbrick was happy to accept the ‘plucky underdog’ plaudits non-league part-timers tend to get after exiting the FA Cup.
Not that Posh were particularly enamoured with Limbrick’s excitable antics after both Woking goals. Dad dancing on the pitch and awfully close to the Posh technical area wasn’t a great look and it clearly struck a nerve with the home players who celebrated in Limbrick’s face after a couple of their own goals.
‘A man in love with the cameras’ was one Posh description of the opposition manager last night which was a shame as his side showed enough over two games to suggest there’s a talented coach at work in Woking, one happy to praise a team who raced to victory thanks to a rampant finishing burst over the final 20 minutes.
“We matched Peterborough at times,” Limbrick stated, “But they showed their League One quality going forward. They have some terrific attacking players and they were the difference in the end.”
Marriott scored twice to ensure the four golden chances he missed were irrelevant, while the other members of what is turning into a ‘fab three’, Gwion Edwards and Marcus Maddison also netted, the latter from the penalty spot after lively substitute Danny Lloyd had been upended. McCann reckons Maddison’s performance was ‘worth the admission money on its own’, but the boss would be just as pleased with Michael Doughty’s first goal for Posh following a sumptuous pass from Maddison and a much simpler one from Edwards.
Goals have been non existant from central midfield this season, and Doughty still has more goals at London Road for Swindon than Posh, so the neat finish on the half hour was an encouraging moment. It was also key last night as Posh were pretty woeful until then, falling behind to Inih Effiong’s speculative strike on 18 minutes, 10 minutes after Charlie Carter and Joe Ward had been thwarted by strong blocks by Posh goalkeeper Jonathan Bond and centre-back Steven Taylor.
But once level, Posh dominated. Playing Maddison and Edwards high up the pitch is an aggressive attacking move which troubled Blackburn at the weekend so National League opponents were always likely to find the going tough. Only fine goalkeeping from on-loan Chelsea player Nathan Baxter stopped Marriott, a far better finisher when little thought is required, reaching 20 goals for the season, while Lloyd saw a late shot kicked off the line by visiting skipper Richard Orlu.
Marriott stabbed Posh ahead on the stroke of half-time, but his instinctive finish 20 minutes from time was the game’s pivotal moment as Woking had delivered a fine equaliser less than 60 seconds earlier through Matt Young. Woking heads notably dropped and Posh raced away to secure a second five-goal FA Cup replay haul of the season.
“We’ve been guilty of letting goals conceded bother us,” McCann stated. “So to respond so well, so quickly was very impressive. We could have had 10 goals by the end. I got the tactics wrong in the first game, but we were spot on this time.”
There was a suspicion after the first tie that Woking had missed their opportunity of a second League One scalp of this season’s FA Cup. They played well enough on their own patch to have earned a decent third round trip to Villa Park, but keeping such a vibrant attacking unit quiet away from home proved too much of a chore.
Marriott now has 17 goals for the campaign and it’s not even Christmas. Only players who have been feasting on Champions League minnows have more.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Alex Penny, Andrew Hughes, Steven Taylor, Ryan Tafazolli, Anthony Grant, Michael Doughty (sub Chris Forrester, 83 mins), Gwion Edwards, Marcus Maddison, Leo Da Silva Lopes (sub Danny Lloyd, 60 mins), Jack Marriott.
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Ricky Miller, Idris Kanu, Jermaine Anderson, Lewis Freestone.
Woking: Nathan Baxter, Louis Ramsey (sub Matt Young, 46 mins), Nathan Ralph, Jordan Wynter, Richard Orlu, Joey Jones, Kane Ferdinand, Joe Ward, Fabio Saraiva (sub Jason Banton, 58 mins), Charlie Carter (sub Jamie Philpot, 70 mins), Inih Effiong.
Unused substitutes: Sam Mason, Josh Staunton, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Declan Appau.
Goals: Posh - Doughty (29 mins), Marriott (45 mins & 69 mins), Maddison (78 mins, pen), Edwards (90 + 1 min).
Woking - Effiong (18 mins), Young (68 mins).
Caution: Posh - Marriott (foul).
Referee: Anthony Coggins 5
Attendance: 3,022 (513 Woking).