Peterborough United breezed into the second round of the FA Cup with a five-goal romp against 10-man Tranmere at Prenton Park tonight (November 15).
Danny Lloyd bagged a hat-trick in front of 30 local family members with a Jack Baldwin header and a Marcus Maddison penalty completing a one-sided scorline in this first round replay.
Lloyd had already scored twice before home midfielder Jay Harris was shown a straight red card for an awful 26th-minute challenge on Maddison.
Posh were expecting a tough game even before Gwion Edwards was ruled out by injury and for 15 minutes it was, but then the home side imploded as Lloyd took centre stage.
A woeful back pass from Tranmere defender Jay McEveley was intercepted by Lloyd who skipped past goalkeeper Scott Davies before firing into an empty net.
Lloyd then missed a close range sitter with his head after a perfect Maddison cross, but he was soon making amends when another Maddison set-piece was headed skilfully back across goal by Steven Taylor enabling Lloyd to blast into the roof of the net.
It should have been a six-minute hat-trick for the summer signing from Stockport who also appeared to be struck by a plastic water bottle thrown from the end housing home supporters. Lloyd had irritated those behind the goal with his celebrations after his first goal.
Tranmere had started brightly, getting players well forward in wide areas and slinging decent crosses into the area, but hopes of a comeback ended when Harris launched himself into Maddison and was despatched instantly by referee Michael Salsibury. There was no suggestion of play acting from the Posh star on this occasion who rose to his feet reasonably quickly in the circumstances.
Posh then spent the rest of the half playing patient, probing, passing football with Andrew Hughes, the replacement for Edwards, particularly prominent.
One lovely Hughes cross was flicked goalwards by Marriott, but straight at keeper Davies and Marriott was again denied by Davies after a lovely touch by Leo Da Silva Lopes sent him through.
Posh had surprised their opponents by starting with the midfield diamond formation for the first time this season. They effectively strung four centre backs across the back with two more on the substitutes’ bench for insurance.
Cup specialist Conor O’Malley replaced Jonathan Bond in goal, but had a comfortable opening half.
Posh almost made it 3-0 at start of second half when Maddison and Lloyd exchanged passes, but the former shot wide from eight yards on the stretch.
Mariott then blazed over after Da Silva Lopes found him unmarked eight yards from goal.
It looked so simple for Posh, but the Tranmere fans became very vocal and visibly lifted their side. Ollie Norburn tested O’Malley from 20 yards, but the young Irishman saved well.
But Posh weathered a mini storm and smacked Tranmere with three goals in seven minutes, all involved the mercurial Maddison.
Baldwin headed Maddison’s superb free kick home in the 67th minute before Lloyd completed his hat-trick after Davies had spilled Maddison’s set piece strike into his path.
Substitute Jermaine Anderson then showed impressive speed to beat Davies to a through ball. The keeper tripped him up enabling Maddison to score from the penalty spot.
Tranmere kept plugging away, but O’Malley rescued a weak Baldwin back header by saving at substitute Andy Cook’s feet.
Seven times Posh have drawn Tranmere in the FA Cup and seven times they have knocked them out, the last two occasions by 5-0 scorelines.
Posh: Conor O’Malley, Jack Baldwin, Andrew Hughes, Ryan Tafazolli (sub Chris Forrester, 77 mins), Steven Taylor, Anthony Grant, Michael Doughty (sub Jermaine Anderson, 68 mins), Leo Da Silva Lopes, Marcus Maddison, Danny Lloyd, Jack Marriott (sub Idris Kanu, 68 mins).
Unused substitutes: Jonathan Bond, Alex Penny, Callum Chettle, Sam Cartwright.
Tranmere: Scott Davies, Liam Ridehalgh, Ritchie Sutton, Stephen McNulty, Jay McEveley (sub Adam Buxton, 46 mins), Jay Harris, James Norwood, Connor Jennings, Ollie Norburn (sub Larbell Cole, 73 mins), Dylan Motley-Henry, Gerry McDonagh (sub Andy Cook, 67 mins).
Unused substitutes: Luke Pilling, Elliot Rokka, Declan Drysdale, Josh Solomon-Davies.
Goals: Posh - Lloyd (16 mins, 22 mins & 74 mins), Baldwin (68 mins), Maddison (pen, 75 mins).
Sending off: Tranmere - Harris (serious foul play).
Cautions: Posh - Doughty (foul).
Tranmere - Jennings (foul).
Referee: Michael Salisbury 8.
Attendance: 4,199 (124 Posh).