Warrior Zakuani delivers an immense display

Posh striker Aaron Mclean's shot beats Orient defender Mathieu Baudry. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh striker Aaron Mclean's shot beats Orient defender Mathieu Baudry. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Central defender Gaby Zakuani was Peterborough United’s man-of-the-match as they beat Leyton Orient 1-0 at the ABAX Stadium today (March 7).

Ben Alnwick: He has been a ‘keeper transformed since the MK Dons debacle. Three excellent displays in a row, and he made a cracking stop to thwart Jobi McAnuff at the start of the second-half here. Handled crosses well in a difficult, swirling wind so just the occasional kicking issue to worry about 7

Michael Smith: Now playing like the splendid right-back that Posh thought they had signed in the summer. He’s athletic enough to get up and down the pitch for 90 minutes and he’s making a strong contribution both defensively and offensively. He had to be good at the back today as Orient have some excellent wide players 7

Kgosi Ntlhe: Another to have picked up his form considerably since the change of manager. Plays with his heart on his sleeve and with complete commitment. One or two iffy clearances in the first-half, but he defended very solidly in the main and that’s almost all this manager requires 7

Gaby Zakuani: What a mockery this warrior has made of some of the pre-Christmas team selections. Defences should be built around players who win every header and every tackle, not defenders who look nice and pretty on the ball. An immense display of aerial power. Outstanding 9

Ricardo Santos: He hasn’t completely erased the dozy moments from his game, but they are becoming more rare by the match. Orient have a lot of attacking power so the teenager’s part in keeping a clean sheet shouldn’t be under-estimated. If he keeps things simple he’s fine 7

Jack Payne: The captain is leading by example quite superbly. He’s launching himself into tackles, but he’s also started to spray the ball around very effectively. Not all his passes are hitting the mark, but at least he no longer spends the whole game passing the ball sideways and backwards 7

Michael Bostwick: What a revelation since Dave Robertson took charge! Bostwick looked slow and technically weak in midfield earlier in the season, now he’s rampaging around central areas like a League One Roy Keane. He’s utterly ruthless in the tackle and he seems to be getting up and down the pitch very easily. Impressive again 8

Joe Newell: Hadn’t affected the game too much before he was taken off at half-time, but then he was hampered by a slight back problem 6

Jon Taylor: Either he’s a genius winger with great vision or he’s a jammy little devil. Claims his ‘goal’ was a deliberate shot at goal, but even without his match-winning moment he showed what a dangerous player he is now that he’s fully fit. Very durect runner capable of delivering threatening crosses 7

Conor Washington: Found it hard in a swirling wind as the ball spent a lot of time in the air which doesn’t suit him. Worked hard enough and tried to put pressure on the centre-backs, but he rarely threatened to do anything too exciting 5

Aaron Mclean: Loved the battle against a former club. Put himself about, won some headers, kept defenders busy, but if Posh have a weakness under the new management it’s the goal-threat posed by their four strikers 6

Substitutes:

Marcus Maddison: (for Newell, 46 mins) Grafting hard until a red card that might have been unfortunate 6

Luke James: (for Mclean, 64 mins) Forced a fine save from the Orient ‘keeper almost instantly 6

Kyle Vassell: (for Taylor, 71 mins) Worked hard for the team 6

David Norris: (not used).

Harry Beautyman: (not used).

Dion-Curtis Henry: (not used)

Christian Burgess: (not used).