A two-hour friendly is a smart idea for players seeking full fitness. It’s also not a bad idea for masochists and football anoraks.
But for the rest of us? Not so much. Practice matches as clubs play ‘musical teams’ can be a soporific experience, especially when the sun, so annoyingly absent for the cricketers, decides to appear.
Pre-season is a necessary evil, but roll on the competitive games. Opening day at Rochdale is eagerly anticipated, home games with Championship clubs cane be taken or left. Not far short of 3,000 turned up to watch this contest at the ABAX Stadium, almost 750 of them dressed in Canary yellow, but what they learnt about their team’s prospects for the forthcoming season is anyone’s guess,
Posh fans will have noted that Paul Taylor has retained plenty of the ability he displayed in his first spell with the club and that Mark Tyler remains sprightly in goal for a 39 year-old. Norwich fans will have confirmed they more depth than a League One club and in twins Josh and Jacob Murphy they have players to trouble matchday announcers as well as opposition defenders.
Both clubs fielded two different teams for an hour. The first Posh side competed well, conceding a goal in the 52nd minute to Josh Murphy. The second team struggled to get hold of the ball, but battled away gamely until conceding goals in the 10st and 119th minutes to Cameron Jerome and Jacob Murphy. Posh would only have lost a proper timed game 1-0.
It was steaming hot on the pitch, but both sides started brightly with Tyler making a couple of smart early saves before Michael Smith tested Norwich ‘keeper John Ruddy after a neat exchange of passes with Brad inman.
Tyler excelled to deny Ricky Van Wolfwinskel, while Shaquile Coultirst was denied by a fine defensive block by Michael Efete at the other end.
Jermaine Anderson, whose first appearance since December was restricted to 30 minutes, also forced Ruddy into action with a crisp strike, but Taylor was the star of the first hour, dribbling well as always, but also unselfishly linking up play with team-mates.
Towards the end of the first hour Norwich started to exert pressure and the breakthrough arrived on 52 minutes when Josh Murphy shrugged off Jack Baldwin in pursuit of a long ball before coolly lobbing Tyler.
Posh were less impressive for the second hour, although Michael Bostwick might have equalised when latching onto Marcus Maddison’s free kick. Bostwick also forced Declan Rudd into a save from 25 yards, but Norwich were the better side by now and confirmed it when Jerome gobbled up the rebound after Ben Alnwick had saved well from Jacob Murphy.
Jacob Murphy headed in a third goal direct from a last-gasp corner.
Trialist striker Morgan Ferrier played the second hour for Posh, but suffered from a lack of service.
He did get one useful strike away, but he will get another chance to impress on Tuesday (June 19) when a West Ham XI visit the ABAX.
Recent signing, midfielder Gwion Edwards, made his first start for Posh and did ok, but not as well as 17 year-old Leo da Silva Lopes.
Posh 1st hour: Tyler, Smith, Hughes, Da Silva Lopes, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Edwards, J. Anderson (sub Chettle 30 min), Coulthirst, P. Taylor, Inman.
Posh 2nd hour: Alnwick, White, Freestone, Almeida Santos, Bostwick, Forrester, Nabi, J. Taylor, Maddison, Nichols, Ferrier. Unused subs: Moore, Alban-Jones.
Norwich 1st hour: Ruddy, Ramsay, Efete, Bennett, Klose, Mulumbu, Andreu, Dorrans, Naismith, Van Wolfswinkel, J. Murphy.
Norwich 2nd hour: Rudd, Godfrey, Toffolo, Turner, Bassong, Thompson, Jacob Murphy, Tettey, Jerome, Maddison, Cantwell. Unused subs: Crowe, Grant.
Goals: Norwich - Josh Murphy (52 mins), Jerome (101 mins), Jacob Murphy (119 mins).
Attendance: 2,759 (749 Norwich fans)