ON-THE-WHISTLE-REPORT: FLEETWOOD 2, PETERBOROUGH UNITED 3: Posh triumph after a remarkable finish
Peterborough United claimed their first away win in League One since the end of August after a remarkable finish at Highbury today (December 17).
Posh looked set to slip to defeat when hosts Fleetwood took a 2-1 lead seven minutes from time, but Jack Marriott’s 18th goal of the season dragged Grant McCann’s level three minutes from time before early substitute Danny Lloyd took advantage of a goalkeeping howler by Alex Cairns to claim a dramatic 90th-minute winner.
There was even time for Amari’i Bell to head against the crossbar for the home side.
Posh star Marcus Maddison had a hand in all three goals, including a brilliant 60-yard pass that was expertly controlled by Marriott before League One’s top scorer finished superbly.
Michael Doughty had pulled Posh level in the second half after Bell had opened the scoring for Fleetwood in the first-half.
Normally, bad things tend to happen to Posh in Fleetwood. Back-to-back miserable performances which led to 2-0 defeats preceeded this visit and the worst was feared a main attacking threat Gwion Edwards limped off after just eight minutes on a cold, blustery day by the North West coast.
His replacement Lloyd was soon firing just wide from inside the area and Posh were pretty comfortable until Fleetwood claimed the lead just before the half hour mark.
And what an avoidable goal it was. Alex Penny lost his bearings and possession near the halfway line and the home side pounced to work the ball neatly down the left wing.
But the cross was poor until Ryan Tafazolli cleared it straight to Bell who fired past Jonathan Bond from 12 yards.
Posh rocked for a few minutes and a Steven Taylor miscue enabled Devante Cole to turn and shoot a good opportunity wide before Anthony Grant rescued a defensive muddle between Taylor and Michael Doughty.
Posh offered little going forward until the break. Their passing was always too slow and often inaccurate. Even appeals for a penalty for a shove on Lloyd were half-hearted.
Five minutes before the break Lloyd and Maddison dribbled across the area enabling Marriott to fizz a deflected shot just wide.
Posh did have the strong wind at their backs in the second half, but didn’t look like utilising it until, out of the blue, Maddison’s superb right wing cross was headed home by an unattended Doughty.
That galvanised Posh and there was incredulity around Highbury when Posh weren’t awarded a penalty when Lloyd was hacked down by George Glendon in full view of the referee.
Maddison also clipped the top of the crossbar from 25 yards with a swerving strike just after Glendon and Kyle Dempsey had wasted half-chances from the edge of the area for the home side.
But Fleetwood looked like they had pinched the points when Ciaran Bolger volleyed home after Posh ‘keeper Jonathan Bond had done well to keep out a Nathan Pond header from a corner.
Substitute Jack Sowerby then curled a free kick against the crossbar before Posh pulled two rabbits out of Marcus Maddison’s magic hat.
After Marriott’s equaliser, Maddison was fouled 35 yards out. He took the free kick himself, smashed it straight at Cairns who obligingly dropped it straight at Lloyd’s feet.
It completed back-to-back wins for Posh for the first time since the first month of the season.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Alex Penny, Andrew Hughes, Ryan Tafazolli (sub Ricky Miller, 84 mins), Steven Taylor, Anthony Grant, Michael Doughty, Leo Da Silva Lopes (sub Jermaine Anderson, 60 mins), Marcus Maddison, Gwion Edwards (sub Danny Lloyd, 8 mins), Jack Marriott.
Unused Substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Chris Forrester, Idris Kanu, Jack Baldwin
Fleetwood: Alex Cairns, Lewis Coyle, Amari’i Bell, Nathan Pond (sub Ashley Hunter, 90 mins)., Ashley Eastham, Aiden O’Neill (sub Jack Sowerby, 63 mins), Kyle Dempsey, Cian Bolger, George Glendon, Wes Burns (sub Jordy Hiwula, 58 mins), Devante Cole.
Unused Substitutes: Chris Neal, Joe Maguire, Markus Schwabl, Baily Cargill.
Goals: Posh - Doughty (56 mins, Marriott (87 mins, Lloyd 90 mins).
Fleetwood - Bell (29 mins), Bolger (83 mins).
Cautions: Fleetwood - O’Neill (foul).
Referee: Anthony Backhouse 4
Attendance: 2,273 (136 Posh).