ON-THE-WHISTLE-REPORT: Peterborough United 1, Bristol Rovers 1: Posh frustrated even though they are back in the play-off places

Posh striker Junior Morias failed to beat Bristol Rovers goalkeeper Sam Slocombe with this lob. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh striker Junior Morias failed to beat Bristol Rovers goalkeeper Sam Slocombe with this lob. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United edged back into the League One play-off places today, but not with the result they wanted (March 24).

Posh were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Bristol Rovers after a game they dominated for long periods.

Posh striker Jack Marriott shoots just wide against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh striker Jack Marriott shoots just wide against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Rovers actually took the lead early in the second half, but Danny Lloyd equalised within five minutes. Posh saw a lot of the ball, but didn’t create enough clearcut chances against a makeshift Rovers defence.

Evans made six changes including a switch of goalkeeper. He was rewarded for his boldness by a fast start which unfortunately didn’t include a goal.

Rovers, shorn of two defenders by international call ups, looked shaky in their 3-5-1-1 formation as Posh passed the ball quickly and accurately, while whipping crosses into the area at every opportunity.

Visiting goalkeeper Sam Slocombe looked dodgy trying to deal with a couple of Marcus Maddison corners, but the ball wouldn’t drop for Posh in the penalty area and Rovers survived.

Posh star Danny Lloyd challenges for a cross in the 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh star Danny Lloyd challenges for a cross in the 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Slocombe looked far better when getting down low to keep out a goalbound Maddison shot from 20 yards, just after Rovers manager Darrell Clarke reacted to a poor half an hour from his side by making a substitution and ordering a change of formation.

Slocambe had also reacted well when a fine Maddison pass had freed Junior Morias. The keeper met the striker on the edge of the area and kept out an attempted lob.

Rovers sent on striker Rory Gaffney for wing-back Marc Bola and matched up Posh in a 4-4-2 system. They improved without testing Connor O’Malley in the Posh goal.

Posh lost central defender Ryan Tafazolli in the fifth minute to what looked like a recurrence of his hamstring problem. Andrew Hughes moved to centre-back with Lewis Freestone coming on at left-back.

The second half turned into an entertaining affair with Rovers carrying more of a threat going forward.

But the visitors took the lead against the run of play 10 minutes in when a free kick conceded by a wild lunge from Hughes was initially poorly defended. Anthony Grant did well to block a header on the line, but Tony Craig was on hand to convert from close range.

It was almost 2-0 immediately, but Liam Shephard managed to kick a clever flicked effort from Ellis Harrison off the line.

And Posh then responded quickly to draw level. Maddison, who was guilty of some poor decision-making, sent in a right wing cross which reached Lloyd who slammed home from close range for his 13th goal of an excellent debut campaign in the Football League.

Posh kept pressing with Slocombe almost making a hash of a Chris Forrester shot and Morias heading a superb Lloyd cross against the outside of a post. Morias probably should have done better.

Rovers also pushed for a winner with Liam Sercombe and Ollie Clarke both missing presentable chances.

Posh finished the stronger, but a poor touch from substitute George Cooper ruined a fine late passing move before Hughes headed a Cooper cross over the bar.

Plymouth’s defeat meant Posh jumped back into sixth on goal difference.

Posh: Connor O’Malley, Liam Shephard, Andrew Hughes, Steven Taylor, Ryan Tafazolli (sub Lewis Freestone, 7 mins), Anthony Grant, Chris Forrester, Marcus Maddison, Junior Morias (sub Omar Bogle, 75 mins), Jack Marriott. Danny Lloyd (sub George Cooper, 88 mins).

Unused substitutes; Jonathan Bond, Michael Doughty, Jermaine Anderson, Joe Ward.

Bristol Rovers: Sam Slocombe, James Clarke, Tom Broadbent, Tony Craig, Joe Partington, Marc Bola (sub Rory Gaffney, 29 mins), Chris Lines, Ollie. Clarke, Liam Sercombe (sub Tom Nichols, 83 mins), Kyle Bennett (sub Bernard Mensah, 71 mins), Ellis Harrison.

Unused substitutes: Adam Smith, Dom Telford, Luke Russe, Cameron Hargreaves.

Goals: Posh - Lloyd (60 mins).

Rovers - Craig (55 mins).

Cautions: Posh - Grant (dissent).

Rovers - Bola (foul), O. Clarke (foul).

Referee: Carl Boyeson 7

Attendance: 5,953 (407 Rovers).