Peterborough United fans saw a glimpse of an exciting future for the club in the second-half of tonight’s (October 1) Leasing.com Trophy win over Arsenal Under 21s at the Weston Homes Stadium.
A second-half goal from Joe Ward settled the contest in Posh’s favour and ensured they qualified for the knockout stages with a game to spare.
Posh Darren Ferguson was frustrated by a poor first-half display, but delighted with a second-half performance which featured excellence from the club’s emerging talent.
Ferguson, who made 10 changes to his starting line-up, handed first-team debuts to centre-back Sam Cartwright and midfielder Kyle Barker, while under 18 player Ricky-Jade Jones made his first appearance as a late substitute.
“It was a real chalk and cheese performance,” Ferguson said. “In the first-half we were nowhere near good enough. We treated it like an under 23 game where there is never any tackling. We stood off them and when we had the ball we just kept passing it backwards.
“I had to remind the players that we want to do well in this competition. There were 80,000 people at Wembley for the final last season. This is the best chance of most of my players will have of playing at Wembley.
“And the second-half was much better. We were aggressive, we played the ball forward, we got after them, we pressed and we tackled.
“We were lucky to be level at half-time, but in the end we should have won by more.
“There were some good performances out there. Alex Woodyard set the tempo for us after the break and Kyle Barker was much better in the second-half when he passed the ball positively.
“Sam Cartwright had a very good game and Ricky-Jade Jones must be the quickest player I’ve ever managed and I’ve managed some quick ones. He’s a talent, there’s no doubt about that.
“I was pleased with the younger ones and it would be good for Christy Pym’s confidence that he kept a clean sheet.”
Ferguson will get the chance to blood some more youth if he desires in the final Leasing.com Trophy game at home to Cambridge United on November 12.
Posh travel to second-placed Wycombe for a League One match on Saturday (October 5).