Depleted Peterborough United capitulated in the second-half to suffer a 3-1 League One defeat against a half-strength Shrewsbury side tonight (April 24).
It’s now four defeats in a row at the business end of the season for a side who again showed mental fraility as well as a habit of making ridiculous individual errors.
Posh led through Gwion Edwards’ 14th-minute goal at the break, but missed a couple of second-half sitters before self-destructing. A poorly-defended corner saw Shrewsbury level just before the hour mark before the latest in a long line of shocking errors from skipper Jack Baldwin presented the home side with a second goal 15 minutes from time.
Shrewsbury added a third goal deep into injury time. That’s now a staggering 30 points Posh have lost from winning positions this season.
Before the game Posh had all but conceded League One football will be on offer again next season and hopes of ending a worrying losing run faded before kick off when news broke that top scorer Jack Marriott had joined his main supplier Marcus Maddison on the sidelines. Marriott had played in all 43 previous League One games and taken part in 54 of 55 of Posh’ competitive matches this season
No Marriott, no Maddison, no chance was presumably a common throught among Posh fans. Thankfully Shrewsbury rested a few of their senior men (they only named six substitutes) and an even first half ensued as a result.
Shrewsbury had pace and power, but Posh looked sharp on the ball and passed it better. Steve Evans’ men also had the best player on the park in Edwards and he opened the scoring on 14 minutes with a trademark goal.
The Welsh wizard was allowed to cut in from the left and shoot from 20 yards under little pressure. There was no surprise to see the ball nestling in the corner of the net.
Edwards was starting just his 23rd League One match of the season. What a miss he has been while on the injury list. He was a constant threat in the opening 45 minutes, helped by the mobility of Joe Ward and Danny Lloyd who were both preferred to Junior Morias up front in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Posh had started slowly, but home midfielder Ben Godfrey wasted a second minute chance from 18 yards and Shrewsbury created little else until a free kick required a fine block from Baldwin, a decent save from Jonathan Bond from Omar Beckles and some fancy footwork from Leo Da Silva Lopes to clear.
Lloyd was denied a second Posh goal soon after the first after Ward had played him through. Goalkeeper Craig MaGillivray sped off his line to save.
Posh missed a golden opportunity to score a second goal on 54 minutes when a slick break led to George Cooper playing Da Silva Lopes through. The youngster chose power over precision though and MacGillivary made a fine save with Ward then slicing badly wide when the ball broke back to him.
And Posh were punished from a 60th-minute corner which was poorly struck, but which Ward and Edwards allowed to travel into the danger area and after a spot of pinball Beckles slammed home an equaliser.
Posh should have been back in front four minutes later when a Michael Doughty cross fell kindly to Lloyd six yards from goal. He beat the ‘keeper with his shot, but it wasn’t powerful enough to beat the defender on the line. A follow-up shot from Ward was saved before Cooper drilled that rebound wide.
The game developed into an end-to-end affair, but it was Posh who cracked with Baldwin’s horrible error proving costly.
His attempted pass backwards was picked up by Stefan Payne who advanced on goal and struck a shot that was deflected off Steven Taylor into the corner of the net 16 minutes from time.
Posh visibly withed after that and substitute Lenell John-Lewis was allowed to race through and score a third goal, again with the help of a deflection, in the 93rd minute.
Posh: Jonathan Bond: Jack Baldwin, Steven Taylor, Andrew Hughes, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Anthony Grant, Michael Doughty, Gwion Edwards, George Cooper (sub Junior Morias, 74 mins), Danny Lloyd, Joe Ward.
Unused substitutes: Mark Tyler, Chris Forrester, Lewis Freestone, Jermaine Anderson, Idris Kanu, Liam Shephard.
Shrewsbury: Craig MacGillivray, Max Lowe, Ben Godfrey (sub Joe Riley, 6o mins), Nathan Thomas, Bryn Morris, Luke Hendrie, Sam Jones, Abo Eisa (sub Arthur Gnahoua, 85 mins), Aristotle Nsiala, Stefan Payne (sub Lennell John-Lewis, 75 mins).
Unused substitutes: Jordan Henderson, Carlton Morris, Alex Rodman,
Goals: Posh - Edwards (14 mins).
Shrews - Beckles (60 mins), Payne (74 mins), John-Lewis (90 + 3 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Grant (foul), Morias (foul).
Shrews - Eisa (simulation), Godfrey (foul).
Referee: Mark Heywood 7
Attendance: 4,666 (233 Posh).