Peterborough United manager Graham Westley has asked for a show of unity from the club’s fans after his side slipped to a fifth straight home defeat in League One today (March 12).
Posh were booed off by a section of the home support after surrendering a 2-0 half-time lead on the way to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Port Vale at the ABAX Stadium. The visitors scored twice in the final five minutes to claim victory after conceding first-half goals to Jon Taylor (after 75 seconds) and full debutant Aaron Williams.
Westley understands the frustration of fans, but he’s urged them to stick with a young side he firmly believes will improve considerably given time.
Westley again made four changes to his starting line-up. Williams, Tom Nichols, Chris Forrester and Harry Toffolo replaced Shaquile Coulthirst, Harry Beautyman, Gaby Zakuani and Erhun Oztumer.
“If I was a fan of this football club I would be hammering me,” Westley admitted. “I’d be fuming at how we can lose a 2-0 half-time lead and I’d be fuming at where we are in the table.
“But if I was a fan I’d probably also realise that the club is going through a massive transitional period. We brought a lot of young players to the club in January and many of them are still finding their feet.
“But unity is the biggest strength of any organisation and I would ask the fans to do their best to help us through the tough times.
“The fans were great at Wigan and pulled us through that game and we will need them again. I can assure them there will be no shortage of effort or knowhow on the training ground as we seek to find some answers.
“The lads are desperate to do well for themselves, for the club, for the fans and for me as a manager, but we are falling short as a team. I sense the players’ desire every day.
“We were in command scoreline-wise at half-time today, but we weren’t in control of the game. Port Vale had had a lot of possession and gave us plenty of issues, so we asked the players at half-time to get hold of the ball and keep it, but instead we lost possession quickly and an early goal, and from then we retreated deeper and deeper until we capitulated after conceding the equaliser.
“We went into defence mode too quickly. We had created several chances on the break in the first-half, but we stopped doing what we had been doing.
“It felt as though they were running all over us towards the end and that’s the difference between having good experienced players who know how to box clever in certain situations and having young players who are playing at League One level for the first time, and who are struggling for confidence.
“I tried hard to change the momentum of the game. I took Chris Forrester off to protect him as much as anything as he hadn’t played for a while, but I sent on Adil Nabi to enable us to keep the ball better.
“There is certainly plenty for us to learn from today. There were good things like Aaron scoring his first goal and the quality that Tom Nichols showed on the ball at times. The attacking thrusts of Taylor and Maddison were encouraging as well.
“We can all see I think that when it all comes together we will be a very good side. We need to grow some personalities as it’s a very quiet dressing room.
“There is work to be done and we will get it done.”