Weak home form could drain feel-good factor at Peterborough United
Second in the league, top scorers in the division, record breakers away from home and the club's stadium about to be bought.
Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and reflect on the bigger picture.
This is a good time to be a Posh fan, and a 1-0 defeat to a high-flying Accrington Stanley side should not dampen the excitement from Thursday night’s news that the ABAX Stadium will soon be under the control of the club.
“Championship-grade facilities” was what co-owner Dr Jason Neale promised, and that could be matched by a Championship team if Posh continue their run of six wins and a draw from seven away league matches, or improve things on their own patch.
But football fans never need an excuse to see the downside, and a worrying run of results and performances at home will leave a negative impression in the minds of a majority of supporters who do not see the superb efforts on the road.
A run of two points and four goals from five home league matches can be excused to an extent as four of those sides are currently in the top six, and the other (Blackpool) came into the fixture on a long unbeaten run.
But lacklustre performances are now followed by frequent doses of post-match referee bashing from Steve Evans, who ramped up his rhetoric by describing Scott Duncan’s efforts in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley as “incompetent”.
While he was rightly aggrieved that Stanley’s match-winner Sean McConville did not see red after 68 minutes, and for the lack of protection Siriki Dembele received, spending so much of his time complaining about referees will not do much to inspire fans who can see the problems at home run deeper than the man with the whistle.
Indeed, Posh rarely looked like equalising yesterday after McConville gave the visitors an 11th minute lead, swooping after Posh defender Rhys Bennett had blocked a goalbound header from Offrande Zanzala following a right-wing Sam Finley cross.
Indeed, if former Accrington goalkeeper Aaron Chapman had not denied Jordan Clark after an air-kick from Ryan Tafazolli it could have been two-nil minutes later.
Matt Godden (from 25 yards) and Jason Cummings did, though, both strike the top of the bar, while Accrington’s Daniel Barlaser hit the base of the post in the second-half after one of several poorly defended Stanley short corners.
The introduction of Marcus Maddison, back from illness, made a difference as expected, and after he was horribly wiped out by McConville he played the pass of the match to Godden which League One top’s scorer unexpectedly steered across goal and wide six minutes from time.
The result was a punishment for a slow and lacklustre first 25 minutes, but fortunately the matches come thick and fast and Posh can cheer everyone up by beating Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town on Tuesday.
Different players and different formations have all been tried to stir life into recent home performances, but so far nothing has worked.
For the majority of Posh fans, their afternoons at the football have not been enjoyable lately, but this has been a momentous week for the long-term future of a club which is currently sitting in the automatic promotion places.
It’s worth remembering that.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Colin Daniel, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Mark O’Hara (sub Jamie Walker, 78 mins), Joe Ward (sub Ivan Toney, 60 mins), Siriki Dembele, Matt Godden, Jason Cummings (sub Marcus Maddison, 59 mins).
Unused substitutes: Mark Tyler, Tyler Denton, Louis Reed, George Cooper.
Accrington: Jonny Maxted, Callum Johnson, Mark Hughes, Michael Ihiekwe, Nick Anderton, Jordan Clark, Sam Finley, Dan Barlaser (sub Scott Brown, 80 mins), Sean McConville;, Billy Kee, Offrande Zanzala (sub Connor Hall, 89 mins).
Unused substitutes: Ben Richards-Everton, Ross Sykes, Piero Mingoia, Luke Charman, Tony Warner.
Goals: Accrington: McConville (11 mins)
Cautions: Posh - Cummings (foul), Woodyard (foul). Accrington: Barlaser (foul), McConville (foul). Anderton (fouled)
Referee: Scott Duncan 5
Attendance: 6,141 (165 Accrington)