ON-THE-WHISTLE REPORT: Cambridge United 0, Peterborough United 2: Local bragging rights for Posh
Peterborough United recorded a first win in 28 years at Cambridge United to make progress in the Checkatrade Trophy as group winners.
Second half goals from centre-back Steven Taylor and top scorer Jack Marriott secured a 2-0 win at the Cambs Glass Stadium.
It was a performance full of commitment and passion from Posh in complete contrast to the limp, lethargic effort in a much bigger and more important knockout competition at the weekend.
The strength of the two starting line-ups was something of a shock. Posh made just one change to the under-performing FA Cup XI as Danny Lloyd replaced Andrew Hughes, a decision that enabled Gwion Edwards to return to a wing-back role.
Lloyd played up alongside Jack Marriott with Marcus Maddison just behind them and the improvement in balance and energy was obvious.
Cambridge also made just three changes to their FA Cup side which doubtless helped deliver a competitive encounter, particularly by the standards of this competition.
Cambridge had the wind and rain at their backs in the first period and carved out the better opportunities despite some dogged Posh defending.
One fine passing move ended with a mishit strike from Uche Ikpeazu turning into an assist for Paul Lewis, but his effort from a tight angle skidded across the goal-line to safety.
Lewis also stung the hands of Posh ‘keeper Conor O’Malley with a long-range drive before O’Malley made a fine reaction save to keep out a low Greg Taylor effort from a corner which travelled quickly through many bodies.
Posh played quckly on the break, but took some poor options when in and around the Cambridge penalty area. Marriott’s turn and volley which was well saved by Cambridge ‘keeper Dimitar Mitrov was their best effort on goal.
Most of this Cambridge side played an FA Cup tie two days earlier and tiredness looked like becoming a factor in the second-half as Posh started very strongly.
And a Posh goal that sparked the greatest celebrations seen in this competition since Wembley 2014 arrived within five minutes.
Maddison’s corner fell to Michael Doughty whose snapshot was well saved. The rebound fell to Marriott who drilled the ball across goal for Steven Taylor to force home from close range.
But Cambridge rallied well and when substitute Jabo Ibehere made it two big lumps up top alongside Ikpeazu they started to cause problems and only a brilliant point blank save from O’Malley denied Ibehere an equaliser with a close range header.
But Posh defended a string of corners well and then broke out to seal a win and a home draw in the last 32.
Anthony Grant led the forward charge before slipping the ball to Marriott just inside the home area, His shot took a nick off a defender before the ball nestled into the corner of the net.
That was the cue for the terrific away following of over 1,100 to really enjoy their first visit to this venue for 16 years.
Posh: Conor O’Malley, Jack Baldwin, Steven Taylor, Ryan Tafazolli, Leo Da Silva Lopes (sub Andrew Hughes, 70 mins), Gwion Edwards (sub Idris Kanu, 82 mins), Michael Doughty, Anthony Grant, Danny Lloyd, Jack Marriott, Marcus Maddison (sub Jermaine Anderson, 82 mins).
Unused substitutes: Jonathan Bond, Liam Shephard, Chris Forrester, Callum Chettle.
Cambridge United: Dimitar Mitov, Brad Halliday, Jake Carroll, Greg Taylor, Leon Legge, Uche Ikpeazu (sub Ben Worman, 81 mins), Liam O’Neill, George Maris (sub Harrison Dunk, 60 mins), Jevani Brown (sub Jabo Ibehere, 60 mins), Medy Elito, Paul Lewis.
Unused substitutes: Finley Iron, Leon Davies, Matthew Foy, Kyle Howkins..
Goals: Posh - Taylor (50 mins), Marriott (81 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Edwards (foul).
Cambridge - Lewis (foul).
Referee: Gavin Ward 6
Attendance: 3,138 (1,123 Posh).