A goal and an assist from main man Marcus Maddison delivered a comfortable 2-0 League One home win for Peterborough United against MK Dons tonight (September 12).
Maddison’s 47th minute corner was headed home from close range by centre-back Ryan Tafazolli and six minutes the Posh playmaker curled home a cracker to give Posh a thoroughly deserved victory.
Manager Grant McCann had made no changes to his League One starting line-up in the first six matches of the season, but tonight he made four, plus he changed formation to a 4-4-2.
Only the replacement of suspended Anthony Grant with Chris Forrester was forced. Skipper Jack Baldwin was among those axed as was striker Junior Morias and teenager Leo Da Silva Lopes.
Forrester’s form deserted him around eight months ago and has yet to return, but he played with great energy here. Right-back Liam Shephard, summer signing Ricky Miller and left-back Andrew Hughes were the others to be given an opportunity and Posh did dominate the opening 45 minutes without causing the visiting defence to break into a sweat.
Gwion Edwards was deployed on the left flank and was the source of most Posh excitement. His lovely run and cross in the 10th minute should have been converted by top scorer Jack Marriott, but his control deserted him.
Edwards also forced visiting ‘keeper Lee Nicholls into a couple of full-length saves which were made to look far more difficulty than the reality. Maddison switched wings to wriggle into the area, but spoiled a fine piece of skill with a weak shot that was caught by Nicholls.
Posh looked set to score from a Maddison corner six minutes before the break, but Hughes appeared to miss his header and the ball was scrambled clear after a melee.
MK Dons appeared content to sit back and stop a quick strike force getting in behind. Miller showed no sign in the first half of forging an understanding with Marriott.
Only occasionally did the visitors break forward, but while they found out it easy to breeze past a central Posh midfield shorn of Grant’s tackling skills, they found locating the right pass or an accurate shot far more difficult.
The game than turned in the opening seven minutes of the second-half as Posh tore into their visitors from the kick off.
Within two minutes Maddison and Miller combined to win a corner which the former again delivered into a dangerous area. This time Tafazolli was on hand to head home from close range.
Miller then delivered a glimpse of his finishing ability by slamming into the roof of the net following fine work from Shephard, but his joy was tempered by an assistant referee’s flag.
But MK relief was also short-lived as Maddison collected a loose ball 25 yards from goal, drove into the area and curled a beauty into the bottom corner.
MK’s response was a triple substution on 57 minutes, but chances continued to arrive, the better ones to Posh with Marriott seeing shots deflected wide and into the ‘keeper’s hands.
Posh would have been encouraged by Miller and Marriott starting to read each other’s play in a half that became stretched.
Miller’s popularity with the Posh fans was confirmed by the singing of his name, minutes after Maddison had completed his match-winning contribution.
MK did improve, but were restricted to long shots that Jonathan Bond dealt with comfortably.
Posh substitute Leo Da Silva Lopes almost rounded off a great night with a brilliant goal. He accepted a short pass from Marriott, surged forward 50 yards, shrugged off two tackles before Nicholls denied him with his legs.
MK almost struck in the final minute, but Bond saved a close range Scott Wootton shot superbly.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Liam Shephard, Andrew Hughes, Steven Taylor, Ryan Tafazolli, Gwion Edwards (sub Leo Da Silva Lopes, 77 mins), Chris Forrester, Michael Doughty, Marcus Maddison, Jack Marriott (sub Junior Morias, 86 mins), Ricky Miller (sub Idris Kanu, 79 mins).
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Jack Baldwin, Danny Lloyd, Jermaine Anderson.
MK Dons: Lee Nicholls, George Williams, Dean Lewington (sub Osman Sow, 57 mins), Scott Wootton, Ousseynou Cisse, Scott Golbourne, Kieran Agard (sub Aiden Nesbitt 57 mins), Ryan Seager (sub Robbie Muirhead, 57 mins), Aaron Tshibola, Callum Brittain, Alex Gilbey. Unused substitutes: Wieger Sietsma, Gboly Ariyibi, Chuks Aneke, Conor McGrandles.
Goals: Posh - Tafazolli (47 mins), Maddison (53 mins).
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 6,465 (369 MK Dons).
Referee: Carl Boyeson