It’s hard not to get over-excited about Peterborough United’s attacking prowess as the summer friendlies come to an end.
A hat-trick from Jack Marriott and goals from the imperious Marcus Maddison and a home defender delivered a 5-1 friendly win at League Two Cheltenham today (July 29), while Ricky Miller was also banging in a hat-trick in a 7-3 win at Stamford AFC.
Twelve goals in one day must be some sort of club record even including the swashbuckling days of Darragh MacAnthony, Darren Ferguson and the Holy Trinity.
The first-team possibles were at Whaddon Road and overcame the loss of an early goal from the penalty spot to romp to a most impressive win.
Maddison was quite magnificent - the penny might have dropped as to his best way to get his dream move to the Championship - and Marriott was positively lethal in front of goal. The man who spent of last season on Luton Town’s substitutes’ bench has scored six goals in five Posh appearances.
Of course tougher tests are on the way, but confidence in front of goal is a huge part of a striker’s armoury. No wonder manager Grant McCann wore a satisfied look after a handsome victory against the club who set him on the way in his own fine playing career.
The match didn’t start that well as Dan Holman scored for Cheltenham from the spot on 12 minutes following a foul by Posh skipper Jack Baldwin.
But Ryan Tafazolli had already headed over from a decent Maddison corner and Marriott had already forced a fine save from Cheltenham ‘keeper Jon Flatt before the goal so panic was never a realistic possibility.
Flatt somehow kept out a close-range Baldwin header from a Maddison free-kick before Tafazolli glanced a header from another Maddison corner inches past the far post.
Posh and Baldwin were penalised again on 22 minutes as Mohamed Eisa took a tumble in the box, Again Holman stepped up to take it, but this time, Jonathan Bond made a fine stop diving to his right.
Junior Morias planted a header wide of the target after fine work from Maddison on 23 minutes as Posh continued to carve out opportunities in front of goal. Morias and Marriott both had half chances, the latter seeing a cross-shot blockedr.
Bond did well to gather a curling effort from Holman on the half hour mark before Posh levelled the scores on 42 minutes as a wonderful piece of hold up play and skill from Morias saw him turn his man and his deflected effort was parried by Flatt into the path of Marriott who made no mistake from close range.
Doughty then fired wide with his left foot as Posh tried to turn the game on its head within 60 seconds. Edwards saw a header cleared off the line by Jason Grimes and then Tafazolli headed over as Posh piled on the pressure.
Doughty was a whisker away from putting Posh ahead on 54 minutes after collecting a short corner from Maddison curling inches past the far upright with his left-foot from around 25-yards.
Posh finally took the lead when substitute Chris Forrester fed Maddison who beat the keeper with a well-placed shot on the hour.
And that was the signal for complete Posh domination. Maddison’s superb pass freed Morias whose low cross was converted by Marriott from close range 20 minutes from time and the ex-Hatter completed his hat-trick 10 minutes from the end with a drilled finish.
The scoreline was completed when Cheltenham defender Grimes diverted a Maddison free kick into his own net.
Fromer Newcastle man Steven Taylor made his Posh debut and was solid for his hour on the pitch.
Posh: Bond, Edwards, Da Silva Lopes (sub Penny 60 mins), Tafazolli, Baldwin, Taylor (sub Hughes 60 mins), Doughty (sub Chettle 75 mins), Grant (sub Forrester 46 mina), Maddison, Marriott, Morias (sub Lloyd 75 mina). Unused substitute: Trialist goalkeeper.
Cheltenham: Flatt, Grimes, Storer, Atangana, Pell, Holman, Winchester, Boyle, Eisa, Mustoe, Foster. Substitutes: Cranston, O’Shaugnessy, Page, Bower, Thomas, Lovett.
Goals: Posh - Marriott (42 mins, 71 mins & 82 mins), Maddison (60 mins), Grimes (og, 89 mins).
Cheltenham - Holman (pen, 12 mins).
Referee: Simon Hooper