MATCH REPORT - PETERBOROUGH UNITED 2, SOUTHAMPTON UNDER 23s 0: Posh stroll to victory against young Saints

Junior Morias of Peterborough United celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game. Picture: Joe Dent
Junior Morias of Peterborough United celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game. Picture: Joe Dent
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Peterborough United launched this season’s Checkatrade Trophy charge by strolling to victory against Southampton’s Under 23 team.

An early Junior Morias poached effort and a Marcus Maddison penalty handed Posh the spoils.

Manager Grant McCann made it clear before kick-off that winning the Trophy – not just having a cup run – is “part of my remit.”

There are plenty of other managers who waffle on in their pre-match pressers about how important this competition could be for their respective clubs, only to slyly put their misfits out on the night.

Yet McCann underlined that clause in his pre-season brief from his chairman by sending out a side with just three changes from last weekend’s 4-1 mauling of local rivals Northampton.

Goalkeeper Conor O’Malley was given the nod to make his debut, while defender Andrew Hughes and rookie striker Idris Kanu stepped up from bench duty at Sixfields to take on the Southampton youngsters.

Former-Reading keeper Alex McCarthy was Southampton’s only recognised player.

Yet Premier clubs remain an awkward imposition in the only cup competition that lower division clubs have any realistic chance of winning.

If you want to see your team battered by a load of kids and fringe players from the big boys, well, we’ve got the League Cup for that.

Yet there is still affection for this competition – especially if you are a former-winner – albeit a tainted love.

Even Southampton, in a former life, gave everything to win this cup just over seven years ago during their two-season stint in League One.

It took just two minutes for Posh to transmit their league form into cup, when Morias could not believe his luck as Maddison’s corner fell kindly into his path to turn in from six yards.

But it took just three more minutes for the hosts’ occasional defensive frailties to to re-emerge as Saints front man Jonathan Afolabi skipped past two challenges before being denied by a brave, smothering save from O’Malley.

It was a promising start to the Irishman’s Posh career after a summer move from St Patrick’s.

Morias went close when presented with another sight of goal but this time his drilled effort from 20 yards deflected wide for a corner.

Morias blasted another chance just wide from clever through ball from Hughes.

Yet, on 21 minutes, the visitors’ inclination to not bother to defend or pick up runners soon cost them another goal.

This time it was Kanu who strode onto Morias’ pass only to be crudely bundled over by Ollie Cook.

Maddison sent McCarthy the wrong way from the resulting penalty to give the hosts a deserved 2-0 lead at the break.

O’Malley was alert to tip Alfie Jones’ drive over the bar just after the restart as the visitors finally displayed some purpose going forward.

The hosts responded with their own flurry of chances. A scuffed Morais shot and three Ryan Tafazolli headers, all from set-pieces, caused plenty of concern for McCarthy.

Leo Da Silva Lopes was doing plenty of damage down the right wing, while Maddison was in maverick mode, toying with the opposition with his inswinging corners.

Substitute Jack Marriott, who replaced Morias just after the hour, had another chance to put the game to bed just moments after coming on. Yet the Posh hit man frustratingly fired wide with only McCarthy to beat.

Marriott missed another sitter on 76 minutes, blasting over a Hughes flick-on as Maddison’s corners continued to create havoc.

It looked as if the former-Luton man had made amends when his fizzing cross was turned in at the back post by Gwion Edwards, only for the assistant teferee to flag for offside.

However, for all the Posh’s wastefulness in front of goal, this was a very impressive and dominant start to the Checkatrade Trophy campaign.

POSH (3-4-1-2):

O’Malley; Hughes, Baldwin, Tafazolli; Da Silva Lopes (Shephard), Forrester, Doughty (Anderson), Edwards; Maddison; Kanu, Morias (Marriott)

Subs not used: Tibbets, Lloyd, Penny, Burrows