The Peterborough United players can count themselves very lucky that events conspired to overshadow their own dismal display at stadium:mk yesterday (February 21).
The Peterborough Telegraph’s Alan Swann was in the crowd rather than the press box as Posh slipped to a 3-0 defeat at arch-rivals MK Dons in a League One match. His player marks suggest he didn’t like what he saw.
Ben Alnwick: I have not seen such a jittery display from a Posh goalkeeper since the worst days of ‘juggling’ Joe Lewis. Panicked when the ball was at his feet, didn’t even dive for the final two MK Dons’ goals, flapped at numerous second-half deliveries into his area with the ball tending to land at an opponent’s feet in the penalty area. Very worrying display all-round 4
Michael Smith: Okay he wasn’t playing well, but others were worse so his early substitution made no sense at all. Posh were 2-0 down at the time and the manager replaced an attacking full-back with a defensive one. Confidence might pick up now said manager has departed 5
Kgosi Ntlhe: Delivered one of the worst individual displays of the season in the first-half. Constantly gave away possession, constantly beaten defensively by balls over the top and his attempts at tackling opponents and stopping crosses were woeful. Should have been substituted ahead of Smith. He did improve after the break, but he has gone backwards at a remarkable rate 4
Michael Bostwick: He had a serious off-day after a series of decent displays. Out-manouevred far too easily for the crucial opening goal and never really recovered. No idea why he was switched to full-back as it doesn’t suit a player with so little pace 4
Christian Burgess: Might be an idea for him to cut out the flamboyance for a while and concentrate on doing the basics defensively. Loses too many headers for a tall man. Beaten too often by a long ball into space behind him so forced to make several recovery tackles and blocks. Burgess is a good footballer, but not sure if he’s a good defender 4
Jack Payne: At least the captain wore his heart on his sleeve and tried to make a few challenges in midfield. While others were watching opponents stroll past, Payne at least attempted to make tackles. He passed poorly, but his obvious commitment means he can’t be graded as low as many others 5
Harry Beautyman: Looked all at sea from the opening minutes in a poorly-executed midfield diamond. Beautyman has great energy, but he didn’t have the natural speed to cover the ground this formation demanded. Out-played by some admittedly high-class opponents 4
David Norris: At 33 years of age (34 today, February 22) it was asking this midfielder far too much to keep tabs on younger, faster players on such a big playing surface. Whatever skills he still has were seriously mismanaged here. Should have scored just before his inevitable substitution 4
Erhun Oztumer: On the wrong end of one of the more bizarre substitutions of recent times. Oztumer still dribbles sideways far too much, but at least he wanted the ball and tried to use it. He even struck the outside of a post with a terrific 25-yard effort as others stood around contributing very little. His reward was to be taken off after 35 minutes 6
Jon Taylor: No-one will ever be able to criticise this player’s attitude. He didn’t play well, but he managed to run around and look like he was bothered by the events unfolding around him. He’s not an out-and-out striker though. Reverting to 4-4-2 might give Taylor his best opportunity to shine, on the other flank to Maddison hopefully 5
Luke James: He battled hard for headers and saw one from a set-piece headed off the line, but a struggling side needs much more and goals just don’t look like arriving. Worked the channels hard, but an uncompromising home defence had little trouble containing him 4
Marcus Maddison: (for Oztumer, 35 mins) He can drive you mad, but his direct running remains the biggest threat on the opposition goal. He shot at goal poorly here, made a couple of other poor decisions, but set up the best Posh chance of the game for Norris. Needs to cut out the dramatic falls though as referees have started to ignore some obvious fouls on him 5
Shaun Brisley: (for Smith, 35 mins) His arrival should have led to the return of a three-man central defensive unit, but instead he was asked to try and help a back four that were being over-run by opposition midfielders. He did okay to be fair. Cleared one off the line and blocked another goalbound shot. His passing from the back was poor though 5
Conor Washington: (for Norris, 56 mins) He can be relied upon to run around a lot, but he can’t be relied upon to take a game by the scruff of the neck. Most of his passes in this game were safe and untroubling of opposition defenders. 4
Dion Henry: (not used).
Gaby Zakuani: (not used).
Harry Anderson: (not used).
Aaron Mclean: (not used).