Ah there’s nothing like the rough and tumble of an FA Cup tie at the home of non-league opposition as plucky underdogs push richer, more talented clubs hard for 90 minutes.
And to be frank this was nothing like that. A plastic pitch that played far better than the pre-match, get your excuses in early, scare stories suggested probably stopped tackles flying in, but hosts Bromley played so passively for most of the contest, Posh endured nothing more than a semi-competitive training session.
Apart from the flying elbow of course. The one that saw Frankie Raymond sent off for knocking George Cooper to the ground just as first-half added time was about to start. Cooper made the most of the situation, but the red card was as inevitable as the Posh win.
Rather surprisingly Bromley led at the time. They appeared to have based their entire attacking gameplan on set-pieces and when Roger Johnson nodded one home after Posh ‘keeper Aaron Chapman had unwisely and unsuccessfully left his line in search of something to do five minutes before the break alarm bells should have been ringing in the visiting camp. Yet Raymond’s actions and the immediate equaliser courtesy of Matt Godden’s splendid volley ensured Posh avoided a paint-stripping teamtalk from their manager at the break and made the second period so one-sided Chapman could have sat down and written pages of mitigation ahead of the post-match inquest.
Godden added a second goal 10 minutes after the break before the impressive Joe Ward wrapped up the 3-1 win five minutes from time after starting and finishing a 70-yard move.
Godden’s double took his goals tally to 13 for the season and proved the perfect riposte to the very public criticism he received after defeat at Wycombe the previous weekend, although that turned out to be a masterful piece of motivation from the manager rather than the rantings of a man irritated by a poor all-round display.
“I singled Matt out on purpose,” Posh boss Steve Evans said. “I knew how he would react. I felt his standards had dropped in training and in matches, but I was texting him all day on Sunday and I spent a lot of time helping him with his finishing all week. When we arrived at Bromley I told him I fancied he’d score a hat-trick.”
Godden has form for first round fun. He did bag a hat-trick in the first round last season when employed by Stevenage. He’d have matched that yesterday (November 10) if taking one of a couple of half-chances in the first-half and if Posh hadn’t indulged in too much long-range shooting when dominating the second period.
Evans also made the unprovable assertion that Posh would have won playing the second-half against 11 men. You’d hope so, especially given the strength of their substitutes’ bench, but for the 15 minutes leading up to Bromley’s goal they had throttled back, possibly confused by having so much possession. They’re not used to that, but conceding woke them up again and after the break it was a stroll in the park. Possession was retained without much of a challenge and there was so much space out wide full-backs Tyler Denton and Jason Naismith played as extra wingers.
Naismith delivered the pinpoint cross which Godden slammed home on the half volley and Denton played the first-time ball which sent Ward clear for his goal. Ward also hit the bar from 25 yards, while Naismith was denied a first Posh goal by a flying save from home ‘keeper David Gregory.
Posh were still sloppy at times, but Bromley, who have never beaten a Football League club in the FA Cup, were far too feeble to take advantage.
In football speak job done and move on to the tougher challenges ahead.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Tyler Denton, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Mark O’Hara, Joe Ward, George Cooper (sub Siriki Dembele, 74 mins), Jason Cummings (sub Ivan Toney, 86 mins), Matt Godden (sub Louis Reed, 90 + 3 mins).
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Marcus Maddison, Seb Bassong, Jamie Walker.
Bromley: David Gregory, Brindley, Jack Holland, Roger Johnson, Sam Wood, Marc-Anthony Okoye (sub Billy Craske, 76 ,mins), Frankie Sutherland, Frankie Raymond, George Porter, Adam Mekki (sub John Goddard, 68 mins), Omar Bugiel (sub Joe Quigley, 51 mins).
Unused substitutes: Alan Dunne, Jake Goodman,Paul Rooney, Tareq Najia.
Goals: Posh - Godden (45 + 2 mins & 56 mins), Ward (85 mins).
Bromley - Johnson (40 mins).
Sending off: Bromley - Raymond (violent conduct).
Cautions - Johnson (dissent).
Referee: Kevin Johnson 7
Attendance: 3,107 (594 Posh).