Peterborough United central defender Jack Baldwin is a fine player.
Once compared to Alan Hansen in style and once linked to AFC Bournemouth soon after the billionaire arrived on the south coast, Baldwin has a reputation for rugged defence combined with precision passing.
Unfortunately that reputation has taken a bit of a battering in recent times. Baldwin has become cursed, a player dogged by ill fortune, one who must walk under ladders at every opportunity.
Already this season the 23 year-old has been sent off, conceded a last minute penalty and seen four yellow cards waved in his direction. Today (September 3) he slid in to divert Michael Doughty’s cross past his own goalkeeper to give visiting Swindon their second equaliser of the match 14 minutes from time. It was the last scoring act of a contest that occasionally threatened, but never quite managed, to turn into a pulsating contest between two of the better footballing teams in the division, in front of the live TV cameras.
Baldwin, and central defensive partner Michael Bostwick, actually played pretty well in the 90 minutes and they had to as Swindon’s midfielders weaved passing patterns that often bamboozled the honest toilers performing for Posh in that area of the field. But, such is the fickle nature of football, Bostwick was also culpable for a Swindon goal after diving out to successfully block a Doughty shot, unfortunately with his hands, six minutes into the second half. It was a harsh decision to award a spot-kick according to both managers, the pundit on Sky Sports and the more partisan home fans, but going to ground so regularly brings such a risk into play and Posh were punished.
But, despite scoring only through a Posh defender and a contentious penalty decision, Swindon were worth at least a point. They bossed the first-half possession-wise when only a tendency to over-elaborate or to deliver hopeless crosses from promising positions stopped them emphasising their dominance with goals.
In contrast Posh looked sluggish and laborious before the break, but they are currently carrying a not-so-secret offensive weapon in their midst, namely the set-piece taking ability of Marcus Maddison. Maddison was fortunate to win a 36th-minute free-kick following a firm-but-fair-looking challenge, but there was nothing lucky about a pin-point cross that was headed in from close range by goal-poaching midfielder Gwion Edwards. Three consecutive League One goals had now been fashioned in this way by Maddison - he also fired Posh back in front from the penalty spot on 63 minutes after Chris Forrester had made the most of contact in the penalty area to win a decision from hesitant referee Tim Robinson.
Keeping Maddison and Forrester - the latter was an under-performer here - was the club’s best work on transfer deadline day, although the arrival of George Moncur after a brief stay in Barnsley was also a head-turner.
Moncur, along with the two loanees from Spurs, started the game on the substitutes’ bench, but his arrival for Edwards on the hour mark certainly pepped Posh up, He thinks, reacts and sees things more quickly than most League One players. Whereas Paul Taylor tended to keep hold of the ball until he was either tackled or intercepted today, Moncur passed. moved and was rarely caught, Moncur will surely start next week after spending the next few days getting in tune with his team-mates during a week of training uninterrupted by midweek matches.
Both sides had chances to score more goals despite regularly failing to stretch their creativity into the opposition penalty area. Tom Nichols’ poor control of an Edwards chip at the start of the second half was almost rescued by a Taylor snapshot that was blocked close to the goal-line and straight after the Baldwin own goal stand-in right-back Jermaine Anderson saw a snapshot well saved at his near post by Swindon ‘keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.
At the other end Posh ‘keeper Mark Tyler, who kept new recruit Luke McGee on the substitutes’ bench, saved well to thwart the lively John Goddard and was relieved to see a fierce shot from Swindon substitute Luke Norris whistle wide of a post in the final minute.
Posh: Mark Tyler, Jermaine Anderson, Andrew Hughes, Jack Baldwin, Michael Bostwick, Chris Forrester, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Gwion Edwards (sub George Moncur, 60 mins), Paul Taylor, Marcus Maddison, Tom Nichols (sub Nathan Oduwa, 76 mins). Unused substitutes: Luke McGee, Ryan Tafazolli, Deon Moore, Callum Chettle, Jerome Binnom-Williams.
Swindon: Lawrence Vigouroux, Darnell Furlong, Louis Thompson, Lloyd Jones; Bradley Barry, Conor Thomas, Anton Rodgers (sub Sean Murray, 58 mins), Michael Doughty, James Brophy (sub Brendan Ormonde-Ottewill, 80 mins), John Goddard (sub Luke Norris, 70 mins), Nathan Delfouneso. Unused substitutes: Tom Smith, Ellis Iandolo, Jermaine Hylton.
Goals: Posh - Edwards (36 mins), Maddison (pen, 63 mins)
Swindon - Doughty (pen, 51 mins), Baldwin (og, 76 mins),
Cautions: Posh - Edwards (foul).
Swindon - Jones (foul).
Referee: Tim Robinson 7
Attendance: 4,501 (255 Swindon).