Peterborough United’s search for an away win continues after they slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.
Mark Cooper handed a first start to Josh Simpson after his transfer from Histon, Paul Coutts, the regular starter in his position, looks as if he is off to Preston to rejoin Darren Ferguson. Exodus Geoghaghan and Charlie Lee were the other two changes from the team that started against Derby County, coming into replace to suspended Craig Morgan and Ryan Bennett.
Alan Irvine only made one change to his starting line-up that beat Blackpool in mid-week , as he looked to continue his impressive start as ‘The Owls’ manager, bringing in Leon Clarke to replace the side-lined Jermaine Johnson.
It was Wednesday who made the brighter start to the game putting an early period of sustained pressure on Joe Lewis’ goal and their pressure brought some reward with Joe Lewis making a tremendous save down to his left, parrying a Marcus Tudgay volley from long-range and smothering the ball before the onrushing Leon Clarke.
Posh got their first chance from a free-kick after Griffiths had got to the touchline and was pulled back by Buxton, Buxton was cautioned for his blatant attempt at stopping Griffith’s from getting the cross into the box. The resulting free-kick was floated in by Jake Livermore but Reid failed to make sufficient contact with the header which went wide of Lee Grant’s far post.
George Boyd picked up a knock and was left facing treatment on the touchline for a fairly long period of time, leaving Posh to defend with ten men.
After more Sheffield Wednesday pressure a long range shot from the former Wolves winger, Michael Gray, was heavily deflected by Lee onto the cross-bar. Lewis was helpless and every fan at Hillsborough would have been thinking that the break-through had been made before the ball thudded back of the under-side of the crossbar. After the rebound the ball was quickly cleared down-field by Posh and Reid hit the woodwork with a header, after a quick counter attack from the visitors.
Charlie Lee spurned a decent chance after a quick free-kick, blazing his shot from the edge of the area high and wide. It was certainly within his range and many Posh fans would have been expecting a better finish from a player that has a reputation of being able to score goals from them sort of areas.
Simpson had a chance to give Posh the lead but his half-volleyed shot from 18 yards, after the Wednesday defence failed to clear the ball, was miss-hit and trickled wide of Grant’s right hand post.
Just before half-time the deadlock was broken. Sheffield Wednesday’s pressure forced a corner which Marcus Tudgay flicked into the back of the net, after the ball was delivered to the front-post. Lewis, who had tipped a Purse header over the bar just before, had left his goal and flapped at the ball leaving an open net for the former Derby man to head into.
Once again in the second half Wednesday looked the more likely team to score. Griffiths performed heroics early on in the period making a triple block of the line, twice from Clarke and once from Tudgay.
Boyd was then subbed off due to the injury he had picked up earlier in the game which was still troubling him, the lightning fast Shaun Batt came on as his replacement.
Another corner was the away side’s downfall as the set-piece from Potter, was nodded on by Purse to an un-marked Marcus Tudgay to double his goal tally in the match. It was the simplest of chances as Lewis has once again came and not managed to claim the ball leaving an open goal for Tudgay to head into.
Posh began to threaten to stage an unlikely comeback as they began to create some chances. Griffith’s had the first, his shot being expertly saved by Lee Grant, who had had little to do up until that point. There was nothing he could do about Jake Livermore’s volley though which found its way into the bottom corner of the goal in-front of ‘The Kop’.
Peterborough continued to press; leading to a succession of corners towards the end of the match, and despite goalkeeper, Joe Lewis, coming forward Posh couldn’t force a chance to break down the Sheffield Wednesday defence.
This was a heavy blow to Peterborough’s chances of survival as this was targeted as a game that was a ‘must-win’ by many fans before kick-off. Too many of these ‘6 pointers’ seem to have been lost, which leaves Posh with a huge up-hill struggle if they are to stay up this season. The nail may not be in the coffin yet but the lid is almost certainly shut.
Peterborough: 1) Lewis, 2) Gilbert, 6) Lee, 34) Geoghaghan, 30) Griffiths, 10) Boyd (Batt), 33) Simpson, 36) Livermore, 35) Reid (Whelpdale), 11) McLeod (McLean), 12) Mackail-Smith.
Sheffield Wednesday: 1) Grant, 2) Spurr, 3) Buxton, 4) Purse, 15) Beevers, 14) Potter, 17) O’Connor, 30) Soares, 33) Gray, 7) Tudgay, 18) Clarke (Varney).