PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1, COVENTRY CITY 2: Posh promotion hopes hanging by a thread as dismal run continues

Posh striker Ivan Toney is flat out after falling over when clean through on the Coventry goal. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh striker Ivan Toney is flat out after falling over when clean through on the Coventry goal. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United’s dismal form continued with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of League One play-off rivals Coventry at the ABAX Stadium today (March 16).

Posh competed well until falling behind just before the break to an Amadou Bakayoko goal. Coventry extended their lead soon after half time through Bright Enobakhare and dominated the rest of the contest before Louis Reed pulled a goal back fror Posh with a deflected strike from 25 yards in the eighth of 11 added minutes.

Posh centre-back Ben White wins a header at a corner against Coventry. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh centre-back Ben White wins a header at a corner against Coventry. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Remarkably Posh are still within two points of the play-off places, but no-one who witnessed a powderpuff attack and a shambolic defence in the second-half today could imagine Darren Ferguson’s side have the slightest chance of finishing in the top six.

Following Doncaster’s draw with Barnsley on Friday night there was a lot on the game for both sides and it showed in an opening 45 minutes full of commitment.

Posh sprang a selection surprise by fielding left-back Daniel Lafferty as one of three centre-back while recalling Tyler Denton to play as a wing-back. A win for Posh would have lifted them into the top six and a win for Coventry would take them above Ferguson’s side.

Posh started well and Callum Cooke’s blistering early drive forced a fine save from visiting ‘keeper Lee Burge.

Marcus Maddison was prominent in those early stages and both he and Matt Godden both shot wide when well placed. Godden also controlled Maddison’s fine pass well before drawing another decent save from Burge with an accurate volley.

Burge then spilled a wicked swirling shot from Maddison, but the ball rebounded just out of Toney’s reach.

Coventry also looked lively going forward and when they started to press Posh high up the pitch the chances started to arrive.

Posh ‘keeper Conor O’Malley did well to rush out and thwart Jordy Hiwula after 15 minutes before Brandon Mason struck the crossbar with a cross.

Posh took charge again leading up the break, but they were undone on 44 minutes when Ben White took an age to clear his lines and promptly passed the ball to a Coventry midfielder.

Two passes later and Bakayoko was through on goal and drilled the ball home.

Posh introduced Kyle Dempsey for Cooke at the break, but were immediately caught out by a huge punt upfield by Burge. White and Lafferty couldn’t cope with the pressure leaving Enobakhare to finish well.

Posh had an immediate chance to pull a goal back when Maddison and Dempsey combined to send Ivan Toney through, but the big striker slipped over.

Posh sent on Lee Tomlin for Denton and switched to a back four for the final 35 minutes.

But it made no difference. Coventry took complete charge and were denied a third goal by a fine O’Malley fingertip save from a Liam Kelly thunderbolt. The ball crashed into the crossbar and Bakayoko was harshly adjudged to have fouled Naismith before nodding the ball home.

Hiwula then stormed through, but delayed his shot too long and his shot was blocked.

Coventry’s momentum was stopped by a nasty-looking injury to midfielder Luke Thomas after a challenge by Tomlin in the penalty area. No foul was given, but there was an eight-minute delay before Thomas was stretchered off with a cut and bruising around the eye.

It made no difference as Posh still offered no threat, while Coventry looked dangerous whenever they approached the home penalty area.

A fine tackle by Reed and a sliding tackle by O’Malley prevented further goals by the dominant visitors.

Reed pulled a goal back deep into injury time with the help of a generous deflection, but once he fired over the bar from a similar position moments later Coventry could celebrate a deserved win.

Posh: Conor O’Malley, Jason Naismith, Ben White, Daniel Lafferty, Joe Ward, Tyler Denton (sub Lee Tomlin, 56 mins), Louis Reed, Callum Cooke (sub Kyle Dempsey, 46 mins), Marcus Maddison, Ivan Toney, Matt Godden.

Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Alex Woodyard, Rhys Bennett, George Cooper, Matty Stevens.

Coventry: Lee Burge, Brandon Mason (sub Junior Brown, 58 mins), Jordan Willis, Dom Hyam, Dujon Sterling, Liam Kelly, Tom Bayliss, Luke Thomas (sub Jordan Shipley, 74 mins), Bright Enobakhare, Jordy Hiwula, Amadoe Bakayoko.

Unused substitutes: Corey Addai, Jack Grimmer, David Meyler, Jordan Ponticelli, Charlie Wakefield.

Goals: Posh - Reed (90 + 8 mins).

Coventry - Bakayoko (44 mins), Enobakhare (49 mins).

Cautions: Posh - O’Malley (foul), Naismith (foul), Tomlin (foul).

Referee: Michael Salisbury 6.

Attendance: 7,084 (1,888 Coventry).