Peterborough United shot to the top of League One after a sizzling second-half showing against Accrington Stanley at the Weston Homes Stadium tonight.
Goals from Marcus Maddison, Ivan Toney, a first for the club from Frankie Kent and a first League One goal of the season for substitute Siriki Dembele earned a 4-0 win, a scoreline that looked most unlikely after a disjointed first-half display.
Posh came out firing, probably after a Darren Ferguson rocket, in the second period and Mo Eisa missed a sidefooted sitter on 52 minutes, but disappointment for the team lasted just four minutes.
Accrington had a promising position on the edge of the Posh area, but crossed poorly. Louis Reed picked the ball up and sent Maddison away. He approached goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov and casually dinked the ball over him.
Eisa promptly missed another golden opportunity after Mark Beevers had nodded a free kick into his path, but Posh were now creating regular chances against a makeshift and tiring defence.
Tricky winger Jordan Clark did waste a chance to equalise by taking a bad option inside the Posh area and he was made to pay a couple of minutes later.
Maddison freed Eisa whose shot was charged down, but George Boyd arrived on the scene and chipped beautifully for Ivan Toney to head home from close range.
Posh dominated the final stages, adding a third goal when Kent headed home a corner from substitute Joe Ward at the near post five minutes frim time.
And Dembele’s dart into the penalty area and cool finish in the final seconds gave Posh a rather flattering final scoreline which with Ipswich losing 2-0 at home to Rotherham propelled them into first place.
Posh made their expected changes with the three regulars who missed the win at Gillingham all returning. It was back to what most would call the first-team, not that they played like it for a while.
Accrington were positive, pretty much playing with a front four, which should, in theory, have left space for Posh to play in.
Instead Posh passed the ball appallingly and invited pressure. Accrington should have been at least two goals to the good at half-time after missing a couple of great chances and seeing a goal controversially disallowed for handball.
First Colby Bishop, unmarked and just eight yards from goal, shot tamely straight at Christy Pym and then Offrande Zanzala took the ball off Sean McConville’s foot when the latter looked to have a far post tap-in at his mercy.
It got worse for Zanzala in the second of 12 added minutes as he followed up after Pym had brilliantly saved McConville’s free kick onto the crossbar to nod into an unguarded net.
Or so everyone thought. First-season referee Sam Purkiss believed the ball had come into contact with Zanzala’s arm before entering the net to general disbelief, although TV pictures backed the official’s verdict.
Accrington certainly made light of their availability problems in that first period. They started without two regular defenders and lost two more players to injury in the first 45 minutes, including substitute Joe Maguire who felt the full force of a Louis Reed piledriver and was down for over eight minutes before leaving the pitch on a stretcher.
Posh offered nada, zilch, didly squat in that first period with Boyd particularly at sea, which in itself was sad to see.
Boyd, like Posh, finished strongly though as they completed a fifth straight home win in League One.
Posh: Christy Pym, Niall Mason, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Frankie Kent, Mark Beevers, Louis Reed (sub Alex Woodyard, 90 mins), Josh Knight, George Boyd, Marcus Maddison (sub Siriki Dembele, 74 mins), Mo Eisa (sub Joe Ward, 83 mins) , Ivan Toney.
Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Idris Kanu, Rhys Bennett, Dan Butler.
Accrington: Dimitar Evtimov, Callum Johnson, Mark Hughes. Jordan Clark, Sam Finley, Offrande Zinzala, Sean McConville, Zaine Francis-Angol (sub Joe Maguire, 25 mins, sub Phil Edwards, 41 mins), Colby Bishop (sub Dion Charles, 83), Seamus Conneely, Aji Alese.
Unused substitutes: Josef Bursik, Lamine Kaba Sherif, Joe Pritchard, Connor Martin.
Goals: Posh - Maddison (56 mins). Toney (69 mins), Kent (85 mins), Dembele (90 + 4 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Toney (delaying the restart).
Accrington - McConville (foul), Johnson (simulation).
Referee: Sam Purkiss 7