Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson and his players are determined to use the disappointing events in Doncaster last Saturday (February 9) as motivation for the rest of the season.
Posh lost their big League One play-off battle 3-1 at Grant McCann’s Doncaster and dropped out of the play-off places for just the second time this season as a result after a controversial game.
Posh players, staff and supporters were furious after Doncaster scored their third goal after refusing to return the ball after goalkeeper Conor O’Malley had deliberately rolled it out of play in the mistaken belief teammate Joe Ward required on-field treatment for an injury.
Posh believe O’Malley was told by a Doncaster player the ball would be returned.
Ferguson said: “The third goal was very frustrating. I would expect my team to return the ball in those circumstances.
“Conor was naive in rolling the ball out, but he wasn’t trying to gain an advantage from it which is the key point. He wasn’t trying to waste time. He wouldn’t as we were losing at the time.
“He told me a Doncaster player said he would return the ball anyway and you could see (Doncaster striker) John Marquis was hesitating over the throw-in, but their bench urged their team to keep the ball and someone else threw it into our area. It was a disappointing goal to concede.
“I did have a drink with Grant McCann after the game because it’s important to be sociable win or lose in my opinion, but that incident didn’t come up in our conversation. “It’s gone now and we are all determined to use what happened as motivation for the rest of the season.
“I’m certainly more determined than ever to win a promotion and the players responded in the right way to the setback. We had a very productive meeting on Monday when we agreed to use the manner of the defeat to our advantage.
“Obviously the run we are on is nowhere near good enough and dropping out of the top six is not ideal, but there will be many twists and turns between now and May and we just have to make sure we head back in the right direction.”
Posh have won just three of their last 16 League One matches.
They fell four points behind Doncaster last night (February 12) after Rovers cruised to a 3-0 win over Southend and McCann’s men also have a game in hand.
Posh can close that gap to one point with a win at Oxford United on Saturday when Doncaster are in FA Cup fifth round action.