Peterborough United burst into the League One play-off places with a superb 3-1 win at promotion rivals Bradford City today (December 26).
Top scorer Jack Marriott scored twice - both assisted by Marcus Maddison - after Danny Lloyd had claimed his fourth goal in three games to give Posh an early lead.
Posh were outstanding, attacking with pace in the first half and defended brilliantly when City came at them hard in the second half. It was 2-0 at the break, but Marriott’s second goal midway through the second period effectively killed off the contest.
City replied six minutes from time when former Posh player Paul Taylor smashed home from 25 yards.
It was a real contrast of styles in the first half with Posh playing fast, neat football on the break and the home side chucking balls into the area from the many set pieces referee Darren Handley gave them.
But pure football won the first-half thanks to goals from to man-of-the-moment Lloyd and the irrepressible Marriott.
Lloyd saw an early sixth minute chance saved by Rouven Sattelmaier and when Marriott was denied in a one-one-one situation by the City ‘keeper six minutes later, following a lovely pass from Michael Doughty, it looked like being one of those days for Posh.
But within a couple of minutes Lloyd scampered onto Marriott’s header, charged into the City penalty area and finished superbly across Sattelmaier to give Posh the lead.
Lloyd continued to roast City full-back McMahon and he was in the area again a few minutes later, but his fierce shot struck the outside of a post.
But it was 2-0 on 33 minutes when Maddison’s superb left-wing cross was headed home from close range by Marriott.
City did generate plenty of pressure and won no end of soft free kicks in the last third of the pitch, but Posh defended them so well, ‘keeper Jonathan Bond only had one easy save to make from a Charlie Wyke header.
City skipper Romain Vincelot missed the best scoring opportunity from a set-piece. After beating Bond to the cross he headed well wide.
City’s response to a poor first half was to make two half-time substitutions with a forward Shay McCartan coming on for centre-back Adam Thompson to signal the home side’s intentions.
But Posh started the better again with Lloyd pouncing on Maddison’s fine long ball. Again Sattelmaier was out well to smother.
City should have pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute when a low cross reached Tyrell Robinson, but a lack of power on his shot enabled Bond to kick the ball over the bar.
City really started to turn the screw with Dieng and Vincelot heading set pieces over the bar.
But, remarkably Posh broke out to score a third goal midway through the half. Inevitably it was Maddison’s superb long ball that created the chance, and inevitably Marriott was the man to finish expertly with a lob over the advancing Sattelmaier.
Posh continued to soak up pressure superbly and a heroic defensive effort featuring strong performances from the entire back four was only spoiled slightly by Taylor’s late moment of genius.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Alex Penny, Andrew Hughes, Steven Taylor, Ryan Tafazolli, Anthony Grant, Chris Forrester, Michael Doughty, Marcus Maddison, Danny Lloyd (sub, Da Silva Lopes, 79 mins), Jack Marriott.
Unused substitutes: Junior Morias, Conor O’Malley, Liam Shephard, Lewis Freestone, Jermaine Anderson, Idris Kanu.
Bradford City: Rouven Sattelmaier, Tony McMahon, Luke Hendrie (sub Timothee Dieng, 46 mins), Adam Thompson (sub Shay McCarton, 46 mins), Matthew Kilgallon, Romain Vincelot, Nicky Law, Alex Gilliead, Tyrell Robinson, Paul Taylor, Charlie Wyke.
Unused substitutes: Lukas Raeder, Jake Reeves,Jacob Hanson, Nat Knight-Percival, Omari Patrick.
Goals: Posh - Lloyd (14 mins), Marriott (33 mins & 66 mins).
City - Taylor (84 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Maddison (time-wasting), Tafazolli (foul).
City - Thompson (foul).
Referee: Darren Handley 5
Attendance: 21,220 (427 Posh).