A spirited performance from the nine men of Peterborough United was not enough to stop Derby County picking up a comfortable three points at London Road.
Mark Cooper handed debuts to four new loan signings; Izale McLeod, Kerrea Gilbert, Jake Livermore and Rueben Reid. And the first chance of the match fell to McLeod as he broke free of the off-side trap and the Derby defence before slotting his chance, from a tight angle, just wide of Bywater’s far post. It could have been a memorable start to his Posh career after joining in the week from Charlton.
After an end-to-end start to the game Stephen Davies’ wasted Derby’s first real chance heading wide after a cross from DJ Campbell. Campbell himself had a decent chance but his acrobatic, over-head kick went wide after some poor marking from the Peterborough defence.
The referee had his first booking of the day to make moments later booking Hunt after a blatant trip on Paul Coutts who was threatening to create a chance. Lewis then made a great save with his legs stopping Davies’ close range header, after a simple short-corner caught the Posh defence out again.
After 28 minutes Posh found themselves down to ten, Morgan went in two-footed on Campbell after he failed to realise where the ball was when he headed it up in the air. It looked a cynical and fairly needless challenge as Campbell was not threatening the Posh goal, out on the sideline. The hapless referee Miller produced his first red-card of the game after a minor scuffle between the Welsh international and a few Derby players.
Miller then made himself the villain of the day after warning Hunt for kicking the ball away after giving a throw-in when he should of produced Hunt’s second yellow of the day. If he had of made that decision it may well have been a very different game.
In first-half stoppage time, Bennett was judged to of tripped DJ Campbell as he charged down on Lewis’ goal; it seemed a harsh decision as to the naked eye it did seem that Bennett had certainly got a touch on the ball. A penalty and a red-card against the former Grimsby man was the decision from Mr. Miller, the referee. Stephen Davies duly despatched the penalty, striking the ball straight down the middle of Lewis’ goal.
The game was over shortly into the second half when DJ Campbell tucked home after his initial shot had been saved well be Lewis, who was named player of December before the match. Campbell was one of the players on show that had been plucked from non-league after being brought into the football league by Brentford signing from Hayes & Yeading.
The game quietened down, and despite the numerical disadvantage Posh played some slick football moving the ball around well but ultimately were always struggling with Derby’s two man advantage. The spare man provided by the red-cards, Commons put in the cross to the far post which DJ Campbell headed in for his second of the match.
McLean received a mixed reaction from the Posh fans as he was brought on for Paul Coutts who was beginning to look tired due to his tireless effort in the heart of the midfield.
Peterborough continued to show spirit testing Stephen Bywater in the Derby goal with two decent shots from Boyd and Livermore. Boyd’s stinging shot from long-range was parried by the goal-keeper and Livermore’s was expertly tipped over the bar. Livermore looked an excellent addition to the squad, his tireless work-rate and silky skills immediately endearing him to the Posh faithful and leaving Derby wondering what they had let go after his earlier spell at the club during this season.
Despite being three nil down the Posh fans were still singing “we love you ‘boro”, perhaps out of respect of the player’s efforts who had given everything for ninety minutes. But ultimately the 8,000 odd Peterborough fans were to leave London Road with the feeling of frustration after an entertaining game was destroyed by the incompetence of the referee.
There is still a feeling of optimism among the Posh fans though; the squad certainly looks more like a Championship one and the new signings looked accomplished, especially Gilbert and Livermore who looked tremendous in their first game in a Peterborough shirt.