English: Peterborough United's South Family St...
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Peterborough United can certainly not be called a boring team to watch. The Posh, managed by Darren Ferguson, have failed to see a 0-0 scoreline in nearly 100 games, a run that has continued longer than their manger’s tenure. The Reds have also not seen a 0-0 scoreline in a while, with Barnsley having not drawn 0-0 since the stalemate at Millwall back in August. Of course these respective runs could only mean one thing, goals were a given.

Tactically Speaking
The Reds made a change from their favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, instead opting for the classic 4-4-2, perhaps due to the suspension of anchorman David Perkins. Of course Keith Hill was immediately forced into one change due to the midfielder’s suspension, however made a further change, with Newcastle loanee Nile Ranger getting his first start in a Red shirt, whilst sporting what can only be described as a rather comical hairstyle inspired by Princess Leia, coming in for Ricardo Vaz Te. The aim was to get the ball into wide areas with Matt Done and Jim O’Brien providing crosses in from the flanks, into target men Ranger and Davies.

Peterborough lined up in a fluid 4-4-2 diamond formation with key midfielder George Boyd regularly joining in the attack. The aim was to counter attack and get the ball forward quickly and regularly, in keeping with their notorious reputation of being a team who will always try to outscore the opponents. This was further illustrated in their manager’s triple 60th minute substitution which saw United go for broke, opting for just 3 at the back and a packed midfield to see the game out. Pace was key for Peterborough, with both front men, Emile Sinclair and Paul Taylor having pace in abundance, with the aim of catching out the full back and bringing Boyd into play.

Flying High
The Reds enjoyed much of the early possession, with Peterborough looking to draw the Reds onto them and launch a counter attack, despite full backs Jay McEveley and Bobby Hassell having none of it. The Reds continued to push, knowing that keeping Peterborough out for the game’s entirety would be an unrealistic expectation, and got their goal when a Princess Leia, sorry Nile Ranger cross found Jim O’Brien on the edge of the area in the 17th minute, with his effort deflecting off Gabriel Zakuani to give him his first goal of the campaign.

Peterborough saw out much of the possession in the remainder of the half, however the Posh had turned up to find the Peterborough born Luke Steele in inspired form, with the stopped keeping out both George Boyd and Paul Taylor. The Reds were then to give Peterborough a taste of their own counter attacking medicine in first half stoppage time, with Matt Done picking the ball up deep in the Barnsley half, to find a Jacob Butterfield run which just wouldn’t end, the skipper needing no second invitation to fire away the shot and claim his 5th goal of the campaign, making him the Reds’ joint top scorer, for the time being.

The second half began in rather end to end fashion with both sides gaining free kicks and corners, with both sides defending from them well. The game was to see it’s first substitution early in to the 2nd period, with the impressive Matt Done departing in the 53rd minute to be replaced by Ricardo Vaz Te, who had opened the Reds’ account last week at Elland Road, the reasons behind the substitutions unapparent, although appearing to be merely tactical. The winger-come-forward would take no time to introduce himself, with a stunning effort from well outside the area hitting the back of the net in front of the vocal travelling support. This signalled the final straw for Darren Ferguson, who opted to make all of his available substitutions 5 minutes later, signalling the end of former Red, and now Peterborough captain, Grant McCann’s game.

6 Minutes of Madness
The substitutions were to signal the end of the Reds’ dominant scoreline, with the Posh opting to ditch a defender and go for broke, with the new captain and key man George Boyd joining the all out attack. It would take little more than 3 minutes for the substitutions to have an impact, with the aforementioned Boyd bringing the deficit to 2 with a shot inside the penalty box.

Undeterred, the Reds continued much in the manner they had done previously, trying to get the ball to Craig Davies who had held the ball up well all game. However it was a series of free kicks which would see United regain possession, allowing the Posh to push up. The kicks were cleared however Ryan Bennett, who had stayed up from the set pieces was found inside the penalty area to reduce the deficit even further to 1. Game on for Peterborough.

Now with everything to play for, the goals saw Peterborough continually gain in momentum, and before the team, or indeed the travelling support could lick their wounds, the scoreline was levelled by Lee Frecklington. It appeared it was going to be a nightmare finish for the Reds, and many of the travelling support could have been forgiven for predicting an impressive Peterborough come back win.

Grand Finale
It is evident the Reds are made of sterner stuff these days and Keith Hill’s men were certainly not going to go down without a fight. Despite Peterborough still pushing for the win, the Reds regained the ball and Danny Drinkwater found Craig Davies to the right of the box. The ball was to drop perfectly for the in-form striker, and the Barnsley supporters had only one outcome on their mind. The Welshman hit it first time and the ball whistled in to the top corner. The Reds hadn’t made it easy for themselves, but they were in front again with little less than 15 minutes to go. The fortress had held strong.

The Positives
The game was played in fantastic spirit with neither side particularly enjoying extensive spells of dominance. It was end to end throughout and the Peterborough fight back certainly made for an exciting game to watch. Barnsley scored 4 goals of the highest quality whilst staying in the game throughout, something which is very important against the free-scoring Peterborough. Steele was in inspired form and was perhaps largely to thank for us staying in the game during the home resurgence. The game was played in extremely good spirit also, with neither side gaining a single booking. With tickets costing less than half than those at Elland Road, and more than twice as many goals being dished out, is it too early to call that game a true Christmas cracker?

The Negatives
It certainly has to be noted that the Reds could have made it much easier for themselves, with early signs of over-confidence perhaps creeping in following the 3rd goal, which might have been blamed for the moments of madness. Of course the events of the game made for a grandstand finish, however Keith Hill’s young side must remember to remain professional throughout, which perhaps was the missing piece with David Perkins’ suspension. Foster and McNulty could perhaps have communicated better on one of the goals, and McEvely had to be substituted late on in order to not give away a penalty which many fans could see brewing, however it feels pretty harsh to criticise the players following what was one of the most entertaining games I have ever seen. Although as stated in last week’s report, Butterfield must do more than just glory hunt in order to become the established Premier League star he clearly aspires to be, and must lead the side with his mouth as well as just his feet.


Line-ups and Ratings
Barnsley: Steele (9), Hassell (6), Foster (7), McNulty (7), McEveley (6), O’Brien (7), Drinkwater (6), Butterfield (7), Done (6), Ranger (7), Davies (8)

Subs: Vaz Te for Done (7) [53], Haynes for Ranger (7) [74], Wiseman for McEvely (6) [74]

Peterborough: Lewis (6), Bennett (7), Zakuani (5), Alcock (6), Kennedy (6), McCann (5), Rowe (6), Tomlin (6), Boyd (7), Sinclair (6), Taylor (5)

Subs: Kearns for Kennedy (6), Frecklington for McCann (7), Tunnicliffe for Sinclair (5) [All 60]

Next Game:
Barnsley v Crystal Palace
Oakwell, Tuesday 6th December - 7.45pm

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MichaelRoach55 and leave any comments or feedback below. Thanks for reading.
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Anonymous said...

I see you repeated the BBC error of crediting Drinkwater with the pass for Davies' goal, it was clearly Butterfield. Otherwise a fair summing up.

Thanks for the comment and sorry for mistake. Pretty embarrassing since I was there, although I knew it was one of the 2 and had to rely on the BBC, which is never good!