Central defenders Ryan Tafazolli and Dominic Ball scored second-half goals as Peterborough United claimed a vital 2-1 against 10-man Shrewsbury at the ABAX Stadium tonight (February 14).
Posh had fallen behind to a 31st minute penalty converted by Stephen Humphrys following a hand-ball offence by Michael Smith. Humphrys turned from hero to villain 10 minutes into the second-half when picking up a second yellow card for failing to retreat at a free kick.
Posh had been the better side before the dismissal, but the red card made their task much easier.
Tafazolli equalised on 71 minutes when heading in a deep corner from substitute Paul Taylor.
And Taylor also provided the cross for the winning goal seven minutes later with Ball heading into the corner.
It was a throughly deserved victory for Posh, their first at home in League One since December 10.
Once more manager Grant McCann changed his strikers - 31 games into the season and still it’s not obvious what the best forward pairing is - and switched to a 4-4-2 formation with Marcus Maddison and Gwion Edwards operating on the flanks.
Lee Angol and Junior Morias - good mates paired together on Valentine’s Day - provided muscle, but little finesse. However Posh dominated the bulk of the first-half and yet took the interval a goal behind.
Shaun Whalley had delivered a warning with a dangerous right wing cross a couple of minutes earlier, before his deep centre on 31 minutes was won at the far post by Alex Rodman with his header clearly hitting Smith on the hand.
On-loan Humphrys squeezed his penalty past Luke McGee to give the in-form visitors a lead they barely deserved.
Edwards should have put Posh in front on 12 minutes, but his free header from Maddison’s cross was palmed to safety by visiting ‘keeper Jayson Leutwiler.
Morias back-heeled a Maddison cross onto the post from close range and Angol saw a goalbound shot blocked.
The goal knocked a little stuffing out of Posh, but they rallied towards the end of the half with Jerome Binnom-Williams - who had gone AWOL in the build-up to the Shrewsbury goal - firing horribly wide after Tafazolli had nodded a free kick back across goal.
Shrewsbury, who were happy to drag 10 men behind the ball at every opportunity, didn’t look awfully secure, but the lack of a killer instinct was again hurting McCann’s men.
Thankfully the central defenders baled the team out, helped by Taylor who had replaced Maddison at the interval.
Posh: Luke McGee, Michael Smith, Jerome Binnom-Williams (sub Craig Mackail-Smith, 63 mins), Dominic Ball, Ryan Tafazolli, Anthony Grant, Chris Forrester, Gwion Edwards (sub, Leo Da Silva Lopes, 82 mins), Marcus Maddison (sub Paul Taylor, 46 mins), Junior Morias, Lee Angol.
Unused substitutes: Tom Nichols, Jack Baldwin, Mark Tyler, Martin Samuelsen.
Shrewsbury: Jayson Leutwiler, Joe Riley. Matt Sadler, Arostote Nsiala, Shaun Whalley (sub Ryan Yates, 65 mins), Junior Brown, Gary Deegan, Bryn Morris (sub Ryan McGivern, 85 mins), Louis Dodds (sub Tyler Roberts, 79 mins), Stephen Humphrys, Alex Rodman. Unused substitutes: Mark Halstead, Adam El Abd,AJ Leitch-Smith, Jack Grimmer.
Goals: Posh - Tafazolli (71 mins), Ball (78 mins).
Shrewsbury - Humphrys (pen, 31 mins).
Sending off: Shrewsbury - Humphrys (second yellow, failing to retreat at a free kick).
Cautions: Posh - Ball (foul).
Shrewsbury - Rodman (foul), Humphrys (foul), Morris (foul).
Referee: Carl Boyeson 6
Attendance: 4,116 (161 Shrewsbury).