ON THE WHISTLE MATCH REPORT: Posh 1, Barnet 3: Peterborough United old boys have the last laugh
It should hurt to lose to a Barnet side containing the combined might of Shaquile Coulthirst and Ricardo Santos.
It would certainly have angered Peterborough United manager Grant McCann who sent both of them packing from the ABAX Stadium last season, with little protest from supporters.
Coulthirst even scored tonight (August 8), albeit with a poorly struck penalty which sealed a deserved 3-1 win in the first round of the Carabao Cup for the Bees. And Santos was rock solid by his own standards. He played better than the Posh strikers which is a cause for concern with tougher opponents to come.
Barnet were surprisingly slick for a team who struggled for most of the last League Two campaign. Certainly slicker than a Posh team who gave full debuts to defender Alex Penny, who endured something of a nightmare, and Danny Lloyd, who was played out of position as a wing back.
Posh were dozy from kick-off and made numerous sloppy passing errors, two of them in quick succession from captain Jack Baldwin. He raced back to tackle Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro following the first mistake, but he relied on ‘keeper Jonathan Bond and Coulthirst’s poor finishing ability to get away with the second.
The impressive David Tutonda had earlier struck the outside of a post from 25 yards for the visitors.
But the lead the visitors deserved finally arrived on 23 minutes when Santos headed a corner back across goal and Akpa Akpro finished with great skill and control of a bouncing ball.
Santos, a strange chap who abused the club that gave him his opportunity in the Football League on social media recently, couldn’t resist antagonising the small gathering in the London Road End after his assist.
The goal did at least prompt Posh into better form and Gwion Edwards slammed home from 20 yards just past the half hour before Chris Forrester was almost immediately denied by Barnet ‘keeper Jamie Stephens after bursting clear onto a Michael Doughty pass and a Junior Morias dummy.
Posh dominated for a few minutes longer as Ryan Tafazolli couldn’t quite convert a Marcus Maddison corner, but Barnet regained their composure and went back in front courtesy of a superb team goal six minutes before the break.
Posh were sliced open far too easily and Mauro Vilhete supplied a classy finish from just inside the area to leave manager Grant McCann with much work to do.
The manager’s immediate reaction was to take off Lloyd, replace him with Andrew Hughes and switch to a 4-4-2 formation.
And Posh improved instantly. Forrester robbed Santos enabling Marriott to surge to the edge of the area and curl a shot just wide.
Edwards and Tafazolli were denied by smart saves, but then calamity struck 10 minutes into the second half. Forrester was penalised for a high foot on the edge of the area and Vilhete’s free kick was adjudged to have struck an arm in the Posh wall.
Coulthirst’s penalty was poor, Bond saved it, but the ball spun back into the net as the former Posh striker waited to tap it in.
The Posh threat rather fizzled out until the final 10 minutes when Tafazolli’s header from a corner was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Stephens and Morias saw a shot well blocked by Tutonda.
Posh won a succession of corners, but couldn’t convert any of numerous fine Maddison deliveries.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Alex Penny (sub Leo Da Silva Lopes, 67 mins), Jack Baldwin, Ryan Tafazolli, Chris Forrester, Michael Doughty (sub Idris Kanu, 73 mins), Danny Lloyd (sub Andrew Hughes, 46 mins), Gwion Edwards, Marcus Maddison, Jack Marriott, Junior Morias. Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Anthony Grant, Callum Chettle, Liam Shephard.
Barnet: Jamie Stephens, Ricardo Santos, Michael Nelson, David Tutonda, Harry Taylor, Mauro Vilhete, Wesley Fonguck, Elliott Johnson, Jamal Campbell-Ryce (sub Ruben Bover, 55 mins), Shaquile Coulthirst (sub Justin Amaluzor, 67 mins), John-Louis Akpa Akpro. Unused substitutes: Craig Ross, Charlie Clough, Simeon Akinola, Fumnaya Shomotun, Ephron Mason-Clark.
Goals: Posh - Edwards (31 mins)
Barnet - Akpa Akpro (23 mins), Valhete (39 mins), Coulthirst (pen, 59 mins).
Referee: Tony Harrington 7
Attendance: 2,725 (155 Barnet).