Peterborough United eased into the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy with a comfortable 2-0 win over League One rivals Southend at the ABAX Stadium tonight (December 6).
A first half goal from Gwion Edwards and a second-half strike from Marcus Maddison secured victory.
Posh had to play out the final 10 minutes after late injuries to Leo Da Silva Lopes and Ruan Tafazolli before booking a safe passage into round three.
The crowd was small, the atmosphere therefore non-existant and weather conditions were cold and blustery, and there were eight changes to the two teams (six by Southend), but the players delivered a decent first-half.
Posh shaded the opening 45 minutes and deservedly led at the break courtesy of a fine Edwards finish in the 16th minute.
Maddison, naturally, was the provider, although Jack Marriott standing in an offside position confused the Southend defence who stood still as a long pass travelled all the way to Edwards on the left wing. He passed the ball into the net from the edge of the area.
It should have been 2-0 on the half hour when Marriott rushed Southend ‘keeper Mark Oxley into a poor kick and then accepted another accurate pass from Maddison. Marriott’s cross should have been converted by Jermaine Anderson, but he poked wide with just Oxley to beat from close range.
Anderson and Jack Baldwin had replaced experienced Posh players Anthony Grant and Steven Taylor in the starting line-up.
Alex Penny, who has endured a sticky couple of matches, retained his place in the starting line-up and performed much better. He burst through a couple of challenges into the Southend penalty area in impressive fashion early on, but passed the ball behind Marriott when he really should have shot.
Maddison also saw a fine shot with his weaker right foot well saved by Oxley.
Southend threatened occasionally with Tafazolli making a terrific challenge to cut out a cross into the six-yard box, but their best moment arrived from distance with Jonathan Bond making a superb one-handed save to keep out Jason Demetriou’s marvellous 35 yard strike.
There was an even better save 10 minutes into the second-half when Oxley tipped a terrific Marriott volley onto the crossbar. Anderson then nodded home Maddison’s cross, but from an offside position.
Southend enjoyed more possession after the break and almost equalised when Josh Wright headed a left wing cross against the base of a post with Bond beaten.
And Posh made the most of that escape by making it 2-0 on 63 minutes. Maddison was the scorer with a well-struck, well-placed finish across Oxley with his right foot after Edwards had dribbled across the pitch before playing him in.
Posh were now well on top and Oxley had to work hard to keep out Maddison’s long range free kick and an Edwards header. Another Edwards effort from a corner was stopped on the line by Demetriou.
Posh were now so comfortable Grant McCann took his star trio of Maddison, Edwards and Marriott off for the final stages.
But late injuries to Da Silva Lopes and Tafazolli - the latter was stretchered off - gave Posh a nervy final with nine men. Nile Ranger missed a sitter to claim a goal back, striking the crossbar from close range after Bond had parried a Simon Cox shot into his path.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Alex Penny, Andrew Hughes, Jack Baldwin, Ryan Tafazolli, Chris Forrester, Jermaine Anderson, Gwion Edwards (sub Idris Kanu, 74 mins), Marcus Maddison (sub Danny Lloyd, 77 mins), Leo Da Silva Lopes, Jack Marriott (sub Ricky Miller, 74 mins).
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Michael Doughty, Sam Cartwright, Lewis Freestone.
Southend: Mark Oxley, Jason Demetriou, Andton Ferdinand, John White, Stephen Hendrie, Jermaine McGlashan (sub Simon Cox, 75 mins), Josh Wright, Anthony Wordsworth (sub Stephen Mclaughlin, 65 mins), Michael Timlin, Nile Ranger, Amadou Ba (sub Theo Robinson, 61 mins).
Unused substitues: Nathan Bishop, Elvis Bwomono, Dru Yearwood, Ryan Leonard.
Goals: Posh - Edwards (16 mins), Maddison (63 mins).
Cautions - Miller (foul), Kanu (delaying the restart), Forrester (foul)l
Referee: John Busby 5
Attendance: 1,707 (138 Southend).