NO matter that Brentford appeared to have been coached by Steve McClaren, this was an attacking display of such quality it would have graced Old Trafford or The Emirates Stadium.
NO matter that Brentford appeared to have been coached by Steve McClaren, this was an attacking display of such quality it would have graced Old Trafford or The Emirates Stadium.Posh were quite simply magnificent from first whistle to last and ultimately they were just a missed penalty away from the club's biggest margin of victory in a Football League match at London Road.
But after a 7-0 rout there can be no negative comments (therefore no mention of Micah Hyde's shooting, the small crowd or Aaron Mclean's spot-kick error). Indeed it's most unlikely the word 'brilliant' has been heard in a London Road press conference so often since the likes of Terry Bly and Dennis Emery were around.
Even Brentford manager Terry Butcher joined in the contest to deliver the most superlatives (he beat the Posh manager comfortably, but fell short of Mclean). Butcher was a most gracious loser and refused to blame the loss of his goalkeeper Simon Brown to a red card after just 40 seconds.
"Peterborough were so good they could have declared after an hour," Butcher said. "I looked at my watch after the seventh goal went in and there were still 15 minutes left. I thought 'Oh my God' as I was worried how many they were going to get because they were both brilliant and ruthless."
That's a neat summing up as Posh hit the front from the spot after young keeper Clark Masters had replaced Brown, were 4-0 up by the interval despite a second Mclean spot-kick hitting the crossbar, and created so many chances after the break, the cricket score Butcher alluded to could well have arrived.
In truth Butcher was a big help to Posh. His counterpart Darren Ferguson described Brentford's decision to keep two strikers when down to 10 men as 'brave', but foolhardy and reckless were better descriptions.
The visitors employed just three midfielders in the first-half and then bizarrely switched to three defenders after the interval. It was professional suicide against a team who revel in space , yet struggle against teams who defend deep and in numbers, like Lincoln and Bury.
And yet the execution of the innocent was still mightily impressive. George Boyd and Jamie Day played so well together down the left new recruit Jeff Hughes (who nevertheless came on and looked bright) must have wondered why he'd been signed, Chris Whelpdale was excellent down the other flank, Charlie Lee and Hyde totally dominated their opponents and Mclean and Craig Mackail-Smith were simply awesome together.
Mclean will take most of the plaudits for a 41-minute hat-trick which included two sumptuous finishes at the end of blistering moves as well as the successful penalty awarded after Brown had felled Mackail-Smith. He missed his second spot-kick after a handball offence.
And yet Boyd shaded him for man-of-the-match after featuring in the first five goals.
It was his sublime pass which sent Mackail-Smith away to earn the penalty, he then combined beautifully with Day to create Mclean's second on 14 minutes and then his cross was headed back by Mackail-Smith for Mclean's clinically struck third.
There was still time in the first-half for Whelpdale to net his first Posh goal from close range from Boyd's cross. Boyd added the fifth straight after the break before Mackail-Smith's quality finish and substitute Rene Howe's low drive completed the rout.
Masters also saved acrobatically from Lee and Howe, while Howe hit the bar with a header as the pace and movement of the Posh forward players completely overwhelmed Brentford.
Posh switched the play from wing to wing so readily, it's possible a couple of Brentford players were substituted because of dizziness.
The transformation in this Posh side in the last 10 months has been quite dramatic. The ugly football of Ferguson's predecessor has been replaced by passing, pace and precision of the highest quality, although this was the first time Posh had played well for 90 minutes.
More good news arrived in the form of a first clean sheet since early October.