The FA Cup produced a moment of magic once again for Peterborough United striker Tom Nichols in yesterday’s (January 8) 4-1 defeat to Chelsea.
The third round tie at Stamford Bridge had captured the city’s imagination and despite trailing 3-0 after 70 minutes, Nichols was the man in the right place to convert a Michael Smith cross to send the 6,000 travelling away fans into delirium.
It was a goal that Posh thoroughly deserved after playing on the front foot throughout the contest and although ‘Pedro and co’ proved too good for the League One side, Nichols was still smiling at the final whistle, delighted with his goal.
Nichols said: “it was a great feeling to score in front of the away fans. Some people say that you shouldn’t celebrate when your losing, but no one can take that goal away from me. It is a shame that we lost, but we all gave it a really good go.”
The 23-year-old also tasted FA Cup magic on the same day last year, scoring against Liverpool for former club Exeter in the same round.
“It is a special competition that gives players like me the chance to score against the big teams, and when the ball fell to me I couldn’t miss,” Nichols added.
“It was important for me to get among the goals, I haven’t scored since the Chesterfield game (December 10) so it was crucial for me to get one to keep things ticking over. I have a target in my head and I’m not there yet so I need to keep scoring.
“I know I have my critics, but I don’t pay too much attention to them. Every game I go out with the mind-set that I want to score goals and I will continue to do that.”
It was a tough afternoon for a spirited Posh side who simply couldn’t contain the attacking power and pace of Chelsea, but no one could fault the way that manager Grant McCann’s side went about their attacking play.
Nichols said: “We could have come here and sat back, but we got at Chelsea. We created some good chances early on but failed to take them which we were punished for missing. In games like this you simply have to take them.
“We obviously came up against a great team today and it’s amazing just how quickly the Chelsea players make the yards up. By the time you think about what you are going to do they are already there.
“We matched them for large periods of the game, but coming to the Bridge is always going to be difficult.”
It’s now back to reality for Posh fans and players alike as they prepare for a League One fixture at Bury on Saturday (January 14), a fixture labelled a must-win by the Stamford Bridge goal-hero.
“We need a win at Bury next week, today was a good day out but our focus turns to Bury next week which is much more important than the Chelsea game,” Nichols said.
“We all know that the league is the most important thing so the whole squad will easily get focussed ahead of next weekend.”