ON-THE-WHISTLE-REPORT: Blackpool 1, Peterborough United 1: Controversial goal denies Posh a valuable win

Jack Marriott heads Posh in front at Blackpool.  Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Jack Marriott heads Posh in front at Blackpool. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United delivered a performance full of commitment and spirit at Blackpool today (February 18), but were still held to a third straight League One draw.

Posh led through top scorer Jack Marriott’s 21st minute header, but were pegged back by a controversial equaliser from Nathan Delfouneso in first-half added time. Posh felt the striker put the ball over his line with his arm.

Posh winger Joe Ward takes on Blackpool's Sean Longstaff. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh winger Joe Ward takes on Blackpool's Sean Longstaff. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh were the better side before the break, but a terrible playing surface proved a leveller in the second-half as Blackpool grew more into the game.

Posh still looked the better side, but failed to create any clearcut scoring opportunities against a team who haven’t won at home since October 17.

The result left Posh hanging onto the play-off contenders by their fingertips. They are five points behind sixth placed Charlton.

Posh reverted to a flat back four for this game with Steven Taylor missing minutes of a League One match for the first time this season.

Posh skipper Jack Baldwin plays the ball out of defence at Blackpool.  Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh skipper Jack Baldwin plays the ball out of defence at Blackpool. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Michael Doughty was moved into a more advanced midfield position and he was prominent early, volleying just wide from 20 yards and forcing a low save from home ‘keeper Joe Lumley from a similar distance. A fine covering tackle from Colin Daniel stopped Doughty stroking home after some fine work from Marriott.

Posh were largely dominant, but should have fallen behind on 20 minutes when Viv Solomon-Otabor’s sizzling run past Liam Shephard was wasted by a poor pass from Delfouneso with two teammates waiting for a tap-in.

And within 60 seconds Posh punshed their hosts. Lumley punched Marcus Maddison’s corner straight back to him and his cushioned cross on the volley was smartly headed home from close range by Marriot.

Posh have been vulnerable lately when leading by a goal so they kept pushing for a second. Excellence from Chris Forrester and Shephard led to a ball travelling along the six yard box, but then Posh were undone by a breakway equaliser two minutes into first half added time.

Posh looked to have Pool penned back, but Jimmy Ryan found the space to ping a glorious crossfield pass to Solomon-Otabor who steamed past Shephard before crossing a ball which was bundled over the line by Delfouneso. ‘Handball’ was the immediate cry from Posh ‘keeper Jonathan Bond and the scorer did look behind him wearing a guilty look, but he might well have been wondering if he was offside.

Posh responded immediately, but Maddison’s 20-yard curler was well saved by Lumley.

Posh trudged off for the break looking disconsolate. They had played some decent stuff considering the pitch condition as their short passing game compared neatly with Blackpool’s long ball game.

As the pitch detiorated, it naturally became tougher for the Posh way of playing, although Maddison should have done better than curl wide after Forrester’s pass found him racing into the area.

A clever free kick routine led to Joe Ward delivering a good cross that was well defended at the near post, but Blackpool had much more of the ball in the second period.

They also created the best chance when Armand Gnanduillet beat Bond to a cross, but headed wide midway through the half. Jack Baldwin, who made some crunching tackles throughout, also did well to block a Gnanduillet shot after a well-worked corner.

The frantic end-to-end action continued until the final whistle with both sides creating half chances.

Bond got down well to deny Mellor before substitute Omar Bogle, who looked really powerful in his 15-minute appearance, and Maddison saw shots blocked.

Posh finished the game very positively, but couldn’t create a clearcut opportunity. It was a strong, committed display which didn’t quite deliver the necessary result, or the one they deserved.

Posh: Jonathan Bond, Liam Shephard, Andrew Hughes, Jack Baldwin, Ryan Tafazolli, Anthony Grant. Michael Doughty (sub Leo Da Silve Lopes, 83 mins), Chris Forrester (sub Omar Bogle, 78 mins), Marcus Maddison, Joe Ward (sub George Cooper, 90 mins), Jack Marriott.

Unused substitutes: Danny Lloyd, Junior Morias, Conor O’Malley, Steven Taylor.

Blackpool: Blackpool: Joe Lumley, Kelvin Mellor, Curtis Tilt, Oliver Turton, Clark Robertson, Jimmy Ryan, Sean Longstaff (sub Sessi D’Almeida, 90 mins), Colin Daniel, Viv Solomon-Otabor (sub Danny Philliskirk, 87 mins), Nathan Delfouneso, Armand Gnanduillet.

Unused substitutes: Christoffer Mafoumbi, Andy Taylor, Will Aimson, Dan Agyei, Jay Spearing.

Goals: Posh - Marriott (21 mins).

Blackpool - Delfouneso (45 + 2 mins).

Cautions: Posh - Marriott (dissent).

Blackpool - Mellor (foul).

Referee: Eddie Ilderton 7

Attendance: 3,286 (301 Posh).