Peterborough United claimed a comfortable 2-0 win over Fleetwood in their final League One home game of the season today (April 28).
Second-half goals from Jack Marriott - his 33rd of a stunning campaign - and George Cooper ended a run of four straight defeats, a consolation prize after a very disappointing fall from play-off contention.
Posh played well here, dominating most of the match and striking the crossbar three times.
The best Peterborough United news arrived before kick off as Marcus Maddison and Marriott were re-united for the first time since the last win on Easter Monday.
And they took just 12 minutes to combine and force visiting goalkeeper Chris Neal into a save. Maddison’s pass was a cracker, Marriott’s control was excellent, but his shot lacked power and precision and was kicked to safety.
Anthony Grant, yes really, then struck the crossbar with a 20 yard left footer and the woodwork was hit again when Neal tipped a header from his own defender Ashley Eastham onto the bar before catching the rebound.
Posh had the majority of the play, but Fleetwood poured men forward when they had the opportunity. Jack Sowerby’s powerful shot brushed against the roof of the net before Paddy Madden blazed over from 12 yards under heavy pressure from Jack Baldwin. Baldwin’s challenge was heavy enough for Madden to ask for a penalty.
Posh began the second-half with more purpose and after a succession of crosses had been headed clear, one finally broke for Marriott inside the Fleetwood penalty area. The outcome was never in doubt as a trademark lob over the ‘keeper gave Posh the lead on 53 minutes.
Cooper promptly landed a chip on the roof of the net as Posh continued to press.
And just before the hour mark Posh hit the bar for a third time as ‘keeper Neal fumbled a fierce Gwion Edwards behind him and onto the woodwork.
Posh were largely dominant, but couldn’t find a second goal. They almost paid for it when Kyle Dempsey lined up a shot from 18 yards, but Jonathan Bond made the save.
Maddison was taken off after 74 minutes and left to a generous ovation from a crowd that included just 88 travelling fans.
And four minutes later Posh went 2-0 ahead as Maddison’s replacement, Danny Loyd, cut the ball back for Cooper to deliver a fine first time finish past Neal.
Posh settled for two. Fleetwood enjoyed more possession in the final 10 minutes and struck the crossbar themselves with a terrific 25 yard strike from Lewis Coyle.
Posh substituted Marriott in the final seconds. He was also awarded a standing ovation by a set of fans probably not expecting to see him in a Posh shirt at the ABAX Stadium again.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Liam Shephard, Andrew Hughes, Jack Baldwin, Steven Taylor, Anthony Grant, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Gwion Edwards, Marcus Maddison (sub Danny Lloyd, 74 mins), George Cooper (sub Joe Ward, 84 mins), Jack Marriott (sub Idris Kanu, 90 + 2 mins).
Unused substitutes: Mark Tyler, Chris Forrester, Michael Doughty, Jermaine Anderson.
Fleetwood: Chris Neal, Lewie Coyle, Ashley Eastham, Nathan Pond, Cian Bolger, Kyle Dempsey, Conor McAleny (sub Bobby Grant, 78 mins), Paddy Madden (sub Jordy Hiwula, 55 mins), George Glendon, Ashley Hunter, Jack Sowerby (sub Harrison Biggins, 60 mins).
Unused substitutes: Alex Cairns, Toumani Diagouraga, Gethin Jones, Nathan Sheron.
Goals: Posh - Marriott (53 mins), Cooper (78 mins).
Referee: Graham Horwood 7
Attendance: 4,667 (88 Fleetwood).