Now and again long shots come in. Think of Foinavon, Leicester City and Brexit and believe Peterborough United can overhaul in-form Doncaster Rovers and sneak into the final League One play-off place.
This morning (April 14) Sky Bet were offering 1/16 on Grant McCann being able to cock a snook on those who greeted his Posh sacking with glee by clinching sixth place. Posh are 8/1 in an effective two-horse race so no wonder manager Darren Ferguson is relaxed. No pressure on him or his side. Those odds seem fair. Extending the season into Easter should be seen as progress after the mess caused by a mid-season change of manager - anything else is a bonus.
Beating Blackpool 1-0 on a Bloomfield Road surface with more bumps than the cobbled paths of Coronation Street yesterday did turn a glimmer of hope into something far more optimistic though. That’s now three wins in a row, three successive clean sheets in Football League matches for the first time in five-and-a-half years and Marcus Maddison has now scored in three consecutive League games for the first time in three years.
All impressive stats, but Doncaster are on a four-game winning streak and showing the sort of ruthless streak when faced with lesser teams that Posh needed last month. Those failures at Bradford City and AFC Wimbledon still look like they will be decisive when the final reckoning is debated.
Still credit Posh and Ferguson for following three straight defeats with a rush of victories. They play at Fleetwood a couple of hours before Doncaster take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Good Friday and the chance to increase the promotion pressure by narrowing a five-point gap must be taken. Who knows, Fleetwood might have lost their excitable manager by then.
There seems little chance of Ferguson wanting to fight anyone right now. He was pretty laid back when struggling at the start of his third London Road reign so imagine his chilled state today now he’s located a winning formula. Ferguson did take the time to celebrate with the Posh fans after the game - pros love a 1-0 win achieved in tough circumstances on the road - before warning his old club that his current club will chase them to the wire.
“I’m very relaxed,” Ferguson stated. “I’m enjoying the job again. I’m refreshed and looking forward to bringing success back to the club. It could still be this season as pressure can do funny things to footballers and if we deliver five more performances with this level of team spirit and togetherness we have a chance.
“We defended well again and if we do that we have matchwinners at the other end of the pitch. I brought Marcus Maddison to the club and I’m delighted he’s still here.”
Maddison’s 43rd minute strike into the roof of the net from Lee Tomlin’s precise through ball settled a game that couldn’t be anything but scrappy on such an awful pitch. Other chances came and went with Ivan Toney striking the crossbar before the goal and seeing a late chance smothered by Blackpool ‘keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi, but Posh rarely looked in danger of conceding with the entire back four erecting a formidable barrier in front of goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.
The hosts were adamant there had been a handball in the build up to the only goal, and given the rest of referee Peter Wright’s performance it was probably true, but Ferguson insisted his side were due some luck with a decision and that nothing should be allowed to detract from the quality of the goal.
Yesterday was away win number 10 in League One and Posh have only beaten that tally twice in their Football League history, both times under Ferguson in 2007 08 (14) and 1008-09 (12).
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Daniel Lafferty, Ryan Tafazolli, Rhys Bennett, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed (sub Josh Knight, 88 mins), Siriki Dembele (sub George Cooper, 78 mins), Lee Tomlin (sub Joe Ward, 70 mins), Marcus Maddison, Ivan Toney.
Unused substitutes: Matt Godden, Conor O’Malley, Callum Cooke, Mathew Stevens.
Blackpool: Cristoffer Mafoumbi, Ben Heneghan, Marc Bola, Curtis Tilt, Nya Kirby, Ollie Turton, Jay Spearing, Matty Virtue, Liam Feeney (sub Chris Long, 57 mins), Nathan Delfouneso (sub Donervon Daniels, 57 mins), Armand Gnanduillet.
Unused substitutes: Myles Boney, Anthony Evans, Michael Nottingham, Harry Pritchard, Jordan Thompson.
Goals: Posh - Maddison (43 mins).
Cautions: Pool - Tilt (dissent)
Referee: Peter Wright 5.
Attendance: 7,477 (491 Posh).