A stunning strike from Marcus Maddison delivered a much-needed victory for Peterborough United against AFC Wimbledon tonight (November 27).
Maddison claimed his first goal of the season - and his first in open play since this fixture last February - to settle a scrappy encounter at the ABAX Stadium.
The winger accepted the ball out wide, cut inside two defenders before unleashing an unstoppable shot from 25 yards into the corner of the net.
Posh deserved to win, but made hard work of it against poor opposition who finished the game the stronger of the two teams.
Posh made three changes to their starting line-up and moved Joe Ward to right-back presumably to improve the team’s passing.
That would also explain a recall for Louis Reed in midfield if not Colin Daniel returning at the expense of Tyler Denton at left back. Siriki Dembele was also brought back in.
Posh did create a half chance in the second minute when Ivan Toney spooned Maddison’s cross over the bar, but soon slipped into a familiar home pattern of slow short passing, inaccurate long passes and a painfully slow tempo.
Dons had broken a run of eight League One defeats in a row at the weekend, but showed little ambition before the break. They did have a chance to open the scoring though 11 minutes before the interval when Liam Trotter tried an ambitious backheel at goal when a Mitch Pinnock shot had deflected kindly into his path.
Midfielders Louis Reed and Alex Woodyard did force corners with long range hits at goal. Ryan Tafazolli planted a header disappointingly wide from one of them.
But the golden chance arrived in the 40th minute when a pass from Maddison somehow slipped past visiting centre-back Will Nightingale and arrived at Matt Godden’s feet.
Unfortunately Godden hurried his shot at goal with his weaker left foot enabling Joe McDonnell to make an easy save.
Godden, who delivered two fine finishes when in offside positions, was also well found by Maddison, but well tackled by Rod McDonald before he could get his shot away.
Posh almost took the lead at the start of the second-half as Dembele played Godden in, but his shot was well saved by McDonnell.
Dembele then raced into the penalty and was bundled over from behind, but referee Chris Sarginson said no penalty. The winger was perhaps guilty of waiting for contact rather trusting his own ability.
Good play from Tafazolli and a fine cross from Daniel gave Godden another chance that he volleyed over and Maddison went close from 25 yards.
That proved a mere sighter for Maddison who fired Posh in front with a terrific shot from a similar distance.
It should have been the signal for Posh dominance, but instead Dons threw extra strikers on the pitch and started to cause problems.
A coouple of headers flew over the bar before Dons’ golden opportunity arrived. Rhys Bennett appeared to be fouled, but referee Sarginson again waved play on.
Joe Piggott was now through. He went round Posh ‘keeper Aaron Chapman, but couldn’t beat Tafazolli on the line.
Maddison almost created a second Posh goal when his left wing cross was headed against his own post by Nightingale.
Posh laboured through the final quarter, but defended their penalty area well to secure a valuable three points.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Joe Ward, Colin Daniel, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed, Marcus Maddison (sub George Cooper, 86 mins), Siriki Dembele, Matt Godden (sub Mark O’Hara, 84 mins), Ivan Toney (sub Jason Cummings, 76 mins).
Unused substitutes: Jamie Walker, Tyler Denton, Jason Naismith, Mark Tyler.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Deji Oshilaja, Will Nightingale, Rod McDonald, Ben Purrington, Mitch Pinnock, Liam Trotter (sub Kwesi Appiah, 73 mins), Andy Barcham (sub Jake Jervis, 68 mins), Tom Soares, Anthony Wordsworth (sub Anthony Hartigan, 62 mins), Joe Pigott.
Unused substitutes: Tom King, Terrell Thomas, Alfie Egan, Tennai Watson.
Goals: Posh - Maddison (60 mins).
Referee: Chris Sarginson 5
Attendance: 5,064 (185 Wimbledon).