Peterborough United, like most clubs no doubt, have social media followers capable of winning an Olympic medal for the 100m dash to make knee-jerk reactions.
Posh were weak in defeat to Bradford City at the ABAX Stadium today (August 13). A one goal margin flattered Grant McCann’s men, but the rush to condem and to demand change on Twitter is more predictably tiresome and nonsensical than the BBC’s coverage in Rio.
Posh have played three games so far. They’ve won two of them and now they’ve lost to a decent Bradford City side with aspirations of reaching the League one play-offs for the second season in a row. It’s hardly a disaster. It’s certainly not a crisis. It’s even far too early become concerned and make predictions of ‘no better than mid-table’ and to chastise the club chairman for ‘appointing the cheapest available manager’ as some of the more impatient Posh followers were attempting within an hour of McCann’s first loss (in seven games) as Posh boss.
McCann is no fool. He summed up this display pretty effectively with the use of the word ‘poor’ and he is no doubt acutely aware of his squad’s limitations. He’s been busy trying to off-load some of Graham Westley and Dave Robertson’s more fanciful signings and replace them with players with a chance of making an impact in League One.
Today’s display suggests there is much more work to do, but fast starts don’t always lead to success, just as slow starts don’t usually mean a relegation battle is looming.
McCann will though have been disappointed with this lacklustre offering against a Bradford side who bossed the ball without forcing Posh ‘keeper Ben Alnwick to work too hard. The visitors were worthy winners because they were superior on the ball and off it. but their failure to kill the game off almost rebounded on them in a stirring final 10 minutes from the home side during which Marcus Maddison failed to beat goalkeeper Colin Doyle when played through by substitute Shaquile Coulthirst and another replacement, Jermaine Anderson, saw a close range shot well-blocked by a well-drilled Bradford defence that has yet to concede a goal this season.
Posh thus avoided the beating they received in this fixture last season. Bradford scored in the 12th minute - their first goal this season - when on-loan striker Jordy Hiwula cushioned a header from Tony McMahon’s precise right wing cross past Alnwick - and should have scored twice more in the early moments of the second-half, first through winger Mark Marshall and then through on-loan West Ham midfielder Josh Cullen who inexplicably failed to hit the target from 12 yards when given the freedom of the ABAX Stadium.
That was the only blot on Cullen’s performance sheet though. He and fellow midfielder Nicky Law pretty much ran the entire game. Their dominance against feeble midfield opposition (with the honourable exception of Posh skipper Chris Forrester) was only challenged when Anderson came on for the final dozen minutes.
Posh stuck with the midfield diamond formation, but it’s a system which, along with mobile midfielders capable of retaining possession, requires athletic and technically gifted full-backs. Hayden White and Jerome Binnom-Williams can run like international sprinters and they are built like boxers, but they were both out of sorts with the ball at their feet and when confronted by the trickery of Marshall. White was tormented by Marshall’s twisting and turning, although it was full debutant Binnom-Williams who lost the ball carelessly on half-way which started the move for the only goal.
Forrester did his best to rally a toiling team, as did the rather more individualistic Paul Taylor, but threats on goal were rare. Taylor did fire a shot just over the bar from 25 yards and forced Doyle into a save from a little closer after fine work from Tom Nichols, while Forrester also made Doyle push a shot away to danger as Posh finished the first-half reasonably well.
But, if anything, the visitors were even more on top for most of the second half with only those poor misses by Marshall and Cullen enabling Posh to take some pride from the contest with a late, yet ultimately fruitless, late spell of pressure.
Positives arrived through Michael Bostwick’s containment of Bradford’s huge striker James ‘Hulk’ Hanson and Taylor’s unlimited energy.
Not that the hard-of-thinking mentioned any of that in the immediate aftermath. They want Joe Hart and Britt Assombalonga to be signed and they think Louis Van Gaal should be appointed manager.
Posh: Ben Alnwick: Hayden White, Jerome Binnom-Williams, Jack Baldwin, Michael Bostwick, Chris Forrester (sub Jermaine Anderson, 79 mins), Leo Da Silva Lopes (sub Callum Chettle, 58 mins), Gwion Edwards (sub Shaquile Coulthirst, 74 mins), Marcus Maddison, Paul Taylor, Tom Nichols. Unused substitutes: Mark Tyler, Andrew Hughes, Michael Smith, Adil Nabi.
Bradford City: Colin Doyle, James Meredith. Nat Knight-Percival, Daniel Devine, Nicky Law, Mark Marshall (sub Paul Anderson, 85 mins), Romain Vincelot, Tony McMahon, Josh Cullen, James Hanson, Jordy Hiwula (sub Billy Clarke, 84 mins). Unused substitutes: Rouven Sattelmaier, Paul Anderson, Reece Webb-Foster. Kwame Boateng.
Goals: Bradford - Hiwula (12 mins), Anderson (foul), Meredith (unsportsmanlike conduct).
Cautions: Posh - Baldwin (foul).
Bradford - McMahon (foul).
Referee: Darren Handley 7
Attendance: 5,906 (805 Bradford).
Alan Swann was at the game for the Peterborough Telegraph so follow all the team news, LIVE commentary, match report and match reaction here click here