Peterborough United delivered an abysmal start to 2019 by crashing to a 2-0 League One home defeat at the hands of lowly Scunthorpe.
Posh were pitiful from start to finish, conceding two avoidable goals to visiting striker Lee Novak and failing to register a shot on target in 96 minutes.
Posh have now dropped out of the top six for the first time this season just to increase the antagonism towards manager Steve Evans.
Improving their home form was a New Year resolution for Posh, but this one lasted six minutes of action.
In that time Scunthorpe almost scored three times thanks to their own fast start and Posh’s sloppy defensive work.
Visiting playmaker George Thomas struck the crossbar from 20 yards, before the same played took advantage of Conor O’Malley’s reckless dash from his area and poked the ball past him towards goal.
Thankfully from the Posh point of view Ryan Tafazolli raced back to clear, but any thoughts of surviving such a dodgy start were dashed within 60 seconds as Joe Ward’s ill-advised backpass sent Novak through on goal and he finished expertly.
Unchanged Posh did settle down and dominated the ball for the second part of the half without creating anything of note
Siriki Dembele was again used as a support striker for Ivan Toney and his excellent low cross skidded across the six yard line with no takers before a lovely cross from Marcus Maddison was volleyed wide by Ivan Toney. It was a tough chance, but on the December player-of-the-month’s current form one half expected the ball to fly in.
Another Maddison cross after some fine scampering from Dembele reached Ward at the far post, but he couldn’t control his shot at goal.
An early free kick after the break saw Thomas clip the outside of a post, probably with a cross.
A burst down the wing from Dembele promised much until his cross evaded the two Posh players in the penalty area.
And then calamity struck again. Thomas broke clear down the left only to see his cross intercepted well by Tyler Denton. But Louis Reed’s decision to try and dribble the ball clear was punished by Novak’s clever finish.
Reed was immediately withdrawn as was Ward, but Posh showed little improvement. Their attacks lacked wit and imagination and usually floundered on a big, strong defence.
The game drifted to an inevitable conclusion for the final half an hour. Posh failed to even generate any pressure on Jak Alwnick’s goal.
The only thing he was required to catch was an object thrown from the London Road End. He was cautioned for reasons not obvious to the majority of the crowd.
Posh: Conor O’Malley, Jason Naismith, Tyler Denton, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli (sub Jason Cummings, 76 mins), Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed (sub George Cooper, 60 mins), Marcus Maddison, Joe Ward (sub Matt Godden, 60 mins), Ivan Toney, Siriki Dembele.
Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Mark O’Hara, Matt Stevens, Darren Lyon.
Scunthorpe: Jak Alnwick, Kyle Wootton, Camron Borthwick-Jackson, James Perch, Charlie Goode, Rory McArdle, Cameron Burgess, Funso Ojo, Levi Sutton, Lee Novak, George Thomas.
Substitutes: Jonathan Flatt, Ike Ugbo, Andy Dales, Clayton Lewis, Yasin Ben El-Mhanni.
Scunthorpe - Novak ( 6 mins & 58 mins),
Cautions: Posh - Toney (unsportsmanlike conduct), Maddison (foul).
Scunthorpe - Novak (foul), Alnwick (unsportsmanlike conduct), Wootton (persistent fouling), Pearch (foul), Borthwick-Jackson (foul).
Referee: Ollie Yates 6
Attendance: 6,974 (238 Scunthorpe).