It’s official, promotion is now ours to throw away. Okay, it’s a little early to say that but the point is still valid. Win all our games from now until the end of the season and we’ve gained promotion; simple. Of course, football doesn’t work like this but the opening to the season has most certainly been encouraging; top of the league, 6 wins out of 8, unbeaten at home and scoring for fun. It seems that all is well.
Posh’s campaign started with a home fixture against Bristol Rovers. It was, on paper, a game that Peterborough should have won. The first half, however, showed that this league may not be as easy as some Posh fans were expecting and if it wasn’t for Joe Lewis ‘The Gas’ would have been in-front. The second 45 minutes, however, was another story. It was an exhibition from ‘The Posh’, who played with a style of football that hadn’t been seen for a long time, and eventually the London Road faithful were sent home happy with an encouraging 3-0 victory.
Aaron McLean battles against the Bristol Rovers defence.
It was a performance that left many grinning with delight; message boards were full of optimistic Posh fans stating that this team is better than the last promotion winning side, especially after another comprehensive victory over Rotherham in the League Cup. Posh were winning again and the fans were not used to the feeling; it was difficult to know how to react. Expectancy was on the squad for the first time in 2010 and newly promoted Bournemouth were surely Posh’s next victims…
…Or maybe not. A trip down to the South coast was a complete anti-climax. A 5-1 defeat to a side that were relegation favourites. Peterborough’s away form had been bad last season, but this was worse. Perhaps the problem was it hadn’t been close. This was a complete hammering. Most the players hadn’t looked interested from the instant that the referee blew his whistle in the first minute to the moment the game was ended in the last. All of a sudden there wasn’t so much optimism being shown from Posh supporters.
Posh struggled against Bournemouth.
At least it was back to familiar surroundings against Huddersfield the following week. Home form has never been a worry; nothing could go wrong on the pitch at London Road even if ‘The Terriers’ were amongst the favourites for promotion, could it? Yes, it could. After falling 2-0 down to a side that hadn’t conceded yet this season most had given up hope. “Play-offs, if we’re lucky” was the general feeling amongst Posh fans. But a George Boyd goal, which probably should be credited to Alex Smithies after a horrible error from the goalkeeper, gave Peterborough hope that they could snatch a point. Gary Johnson though wasn’t satisfied with a point. He sent his team out for the second half to go to for the jugular. It was a rampant 45 minutes where Huddersfield looked bewildered with the sudden pace of every Posh attack and another collection of goals meant that another three points were added. This, followed by a win against Cardiff, meant that all was well again.
A tricky away tie at Plymouth was next and after the abysmal showing at Bournemouth in the last game away from home territory many weren’t overly confident. This one was a long way away from home territory as well; the longest trip of the season, but still a sizable following of brave Peterborough fans went off in hope of watching their team collect three points away from home. It was comfortable in the end, once again the first half performance was nothing to write home about but another superb second half display saw Posh pick up a comfortable 3-0 win and now, surely, the away jitters were cured.
Craig Mackail-Smith celebrates his goal against Plymouth.
The Posh were on the road again next week to struggling Tranmere. Even Tranmere fans were expecting a rampant Peterborough United victory and, with the euphoria after an excellent win at Plymouth, the travelling Posh fans seemed to forget that their side couldn’t play away and also expected a win by a sizable margin. Peterborough met a brick wall though. Tranmere lined themselves up to defend and smash it long. They did so well. A point should have been obtained but an awful error from Charlie Lee meant that ‘Rovers’ fans were singing Les Perry’s praises and Tranmere secured an unlikely three points.
Once again London Road proved a happy hunting ground for the Posh, although it looked ominous at first when an unbeaten Oldham side went 2-0 up but ‘The Posh’ don’t start playing until they are behind, and a 5-2 victory was achieved with these three points powering Peterborough United to the top of the League One table.
When you are top of the league, even at this early stage, there shouldn’t be too many worries. But there are two major doubts in my mind. One is our inability to play away from London Road. And the second is the fact that we don’t seem to arrive until the 45th minute – ‘The Posh’ have the worst first half form but the best second half form in the league. Having said that the fact we have so much attacking prowess means that every Posh fan should be very optimistic about the remaining 40 league games and it’s not like Posh to do things the easy way, is it?!