Grant McCann is making this management lark look easy.
He’s taken charge of four Posh matches this season, picked up 10 points, overseen two 5-1 wins, watched his team score 15 goals and instigated the best substitution of the campaign.
McCann sent Jon Taylor on with 18 minutes remaining with the score 1-1 against Blackpool at the ABAX Stadium today (May 8). Taylor promptly claimed the first hat-trick of his career as Posh won 5-1 to confirm the players at least want McCann to become the main man at the club, after chairman Darragh MacAnthony.
Of course two end-of-season wins against poor opposition shouldn’t necessarily carry much weight, but if McCann was asked to raise the spirits of fans and players alike before the curtain came down he’s been remarkably successful. In fact short of bringing in a lucrative sponsorship deal, setting up the signing of Lionel Messi and dumping the awful skip challenge ‘entertainment’ at half-time, there isn’t a lot more a caretaker could have done,
Indeed McCann’s children were seen tidying up the main stand after the final whistle which is a hitherto unseen level of commitment to the cause. Good parenting could be a useful skill when dealing with young players.
Speculation over the identity of the next Posh boss is big news in the city, but nationally all eyes were on Blackpool, The Seasiders had to win at Posh to have any chance of avoiding back-to-back relegations, but even then they were in the unenviable position of relying on Crewe Alexandara. A win for ‘The Railwaymen’ at Fleetwood was also necessary for Blackpool’s well-being so their second-half caputlation didn’t come as the greatest surprise. If they didn’t find out while supping a half-time cuppa a goal to the good, that Fleetwood were 2-0 up, the crafty Posh matchday announcer made sure they heard the news as they came out for the second-half.
Whereas Blackpool were sharper, more committed - more interested even - than Posh before the break, they surrendered rather meekly when faced with more detrmined hosts after the break.
Shaquile Coulthirst was dragged to the floor by former Jack Hunt schoolboy David Norris to enable Marcus Maddison to equalise immediately from the penalty spot and the final 20 minutes then belonged to substitute Jon Taylor, whose first hat-trick of his career arrived in a game which didn’t see his arrival until the 72nd minute.
Taylor supplied a terrific right-foot finish within two minutes to fire Posh ahead and two deadly left-foot strikes on 84 and 86 minutes completed the scoring after Coulthirst had made it 3-1 with a powerful shot of his own. Coulthirst supplied two of the passes for Taylor’s goals, but this was the substitutes’ day - 12 minute hat-tricks don’t come along too often.
It was a startling finale given what had gone before, particularly in the opening half. Posh were lethargic, dis-jointed and casual. They fell behind on 16 minutes when a deep left-wing cross was expertly headed home by Jacob Blyth and until Maddison started to see more of the ball, the visitors looked more likely to score the next goal as well.
Maddison tested Blackpool ‘keeper Colin Doyle twice before the interval, but the visitors were comfortable while prospective Posh manager Steve Evans wasn’t seen to make many positive notes from his position in the directors’ box.
Evans might well have bigger ideas than leading a Posh promotion charge next season. Anyway the second half showing merely enhanced the candidature of a possibe rival.
Posh: Mark Tyler, Michael Smith, Andrew Fox, Gaby Zakuani (sub Ricardo Santos, 22 mins), Jack Baldwin, Chris Forrester (sub Callum Chettle, 82 mins), Adil Nabi (sub Jon Taylor, 72 mins), Leo Da Silva Lopes, Marcus Maddison, Lee Angol, Shaquile Coulthirst. Unused substitutes: Dion-Curtis Henry, Harry Beautyman, Aaron Williams, Erhun Oztumer.
Blackpool: Colin Doyle, Hayden White, Clark Robertson, Tom Aldred, Luke Higham. Brad Potts, Jim McAlister, Jacob Blyth, David Norris, Jack Redshaw, Danny Philliskirk. Substitutes: Kyle Letheren, Emmerson Boyce, Will Aimson, Mark Yeates, Martin Paterson, Luke Smith, Uche Ikpeazu.
Goals: Posh - Maddison (pen, 47 mins), Taylor (74 mins, 84 & 86 mins), Coulthirst (76 mins).
Blackpool - Blyth (16 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Da Silva Lopes (foul), Fox (foul), Angol (foul).
Blackpool - McAlister (foul).
Referee: Mark Heywood 5.
Attendance: 6,005 (385 Blackpool).