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What a year! 2011 review

31 December 2011 by

Without a doubt 2011 has been one of the best seasons in Peterborough United’s history. London Road has become a fortress and despite jumping up a league in the summer and losing some familiar names in the transfer market the squad is showing no signs of slowing down. Games featuring the team have averaged 3.63 goals and although a few of them have been due to a leaky defence performances have been improving as the year goes on. Here are the highlights of the memorable year:

January

The year may not have been as successful if it wasn’t for the shock departure of Gary Johnson back in January. At the time Posh were 7th in The Championship with a game in hand over their rivals. The departure was put down to policy disagreement and just two days later one of the worst kept secrets in football was proved true when Darren Ferguson returned to the club with his diamond formation.

Gary Johnson’s last game in charge was an exciting FA Cup tie against Fulham. Despite the unflattering score-line Posh gave everything they had in attempt the claim a giant-killing but just couldn’t convert their chances against a team full of Premiership regulars. In the end it was a Diomansey Kamara hat-trick that stole the headlines but despite losing 6-2 the boys in blue definitely had nothing to be embarrassed about.

In the league things were on a rollercoaster with three consecutive wins at home but two consecutive defeats on the road. Pick of the mix were a 4-1 win against Walsall and a 4-0 win against Hartlepool.

League position 01/01/2011: 8th (PTS 30, P 20)
League position 31/01/2011: 6th (PTS, 39 P 25)

February

In February Posh proved why they were named the most entertaining side of the season with goals flying in from all over the place, sadly not all in the right end. The month started off with a cracker when promotion chasers Sheffield Wednesday paid us a visit. Despite not making the best of starts and going behind three times in the game Posh with their new determination just wouldn’t give up and eventually pulled of a remarkable 5-3 win.

Just four days later London Road was treated to another entertaining show this time with fellow promotion hopefuls Southampton visiting. Our games that are broadcast on Sky are always entertaining but no one quite expected a hard fought game of such calibre. A last minute penalty is normally enough drama for a game, but four penalties, eight goals and two remarkable comebacks made sure Posh walked away with their most deserved point of the season.

The month was rounded off with a spectacular 5-0 win over Oldham banishing any doubts that our away record wasn’t good enough. What made the game even more memorable was that all five goals came in the second half of the game.

League position 28/02/2011: 4th (PTS 53, P 32)

March

March was the month where are promotion push really started to take shape, we even started to believe that an automatic promotion place is where we would end.

Again games at home were packed full of entertainment and performances on the pitch were improving. Teams would come but no one could conquer the boys on their stomping ground. Carlisle were the biggest losers of the month as a rampant Posh opened their scoring within 80 seconds eventually bagging just six goals, it could have easily been double that. On the road things were also exciting as Sheffield Wednesday were again brushed aside, this time with a more convincing 4-1 win. It wasn’t until we met our most favourite club MK Dons that things started to go slightly off plan as we boringly lost 1-0 but we won’t talk about that.

League position 31/03/2011: 3rd (PTS 66, P 38)

April

In April things started to stutter with draws becoming the new favoured score-line at a time when every point was precious. The push for automatics was still on making our clash against Huddersfield a very tasty encounter. Both sets of fans were well up for the game and it seemed Posh had got the better of their rivals until a goal in stoppage time broke the hearts of over 1,000 travelling poshies and all put ended any hope of making automatics. Play-offs it would be but against who?

League position 30/04/2011: 4th (PTS 76, P 45)

May

May has to be the month to remember. The season was rounded off nicely at the start of the month with an easy 5-0 with over relegated Dagenham setting up a tasty play-off clash against arch-rivals MK Dons. Posh fans were determined not to lose against one of the most hated teams in the football league and despite losing 3-2 at stadium MK everyone had faith that we would do them on our own turf.

Up step a warm spring evening in May, the most magic night of the season. The air was buzzing, the excitement was growing and the belief was there. All we needed was to bag the first goal and boy did we bag it in superb style as Grant McCann curled in spectacular free-kick which sent London Road into frenzy. From that point The Dons stood no chance and almost 10,000 Posh fans sighed with relief when the ever impressive Craig Mackail-Smith found the back of the net. I have never experienced atmosphere quite like that night, everyone truly was proud to be Posh. Nothing will ever beat that feeling of celebrating on the pitch under the floodlights.

That belief was something that was taken into the play-off final and even the mighty Huddersfield Town and their army of supporters couldn’t quash the confidence in the Posh side that had been growing throughout the season. This would have been the biggest game in most of the young squad’s career but wow did they step up to the challenge.

Huddersfield weren’t supposed to be an easy challenge, they were on the back of a 27 game unbeaten run, but somehow they had gone into self-meltdown by the end of this game. The match was a close encounter up until the final 15 minutes but then Tommy Rowe found the net followed just two minutes later by Mackail-Smith. The tie was all over on 85 minutes when skipper McCann again took centre stage when his free-kick flew into the top corner.

Huddersfield fans had lost their belief (and their ‘believe t-shirts’) but 15,000 Posh fans partied long into the night. Posh were back in the Championship after just a season!

Final league position: 4th (PTS 79, P 46)

July

In July the inevitable happened, Craig Mackail-Smith finally departed the club. After 212 appearances and 99 goals the modern day legend flew off to Brighton. Fans were devastated and faith in the team had diminished. The Championship now looked like a massive task unless a replacement striker could be found.

August

August 6, the start of the Championship season, the season in which we would spectacularly flop according to every football pundit going. Bring forth Crystal Palace who would obviously thrash us right? Wrong! Peterborough United were in the Championship for the long haul this time, three points on the opening day proved that.

August will forever be remembered for the unbelievable 7-1 victory over Ipswich. The Tractor Boys had taken the lead but we soon devoured by the well-structured, fast paced Posh side who smashed home seven stunning goals, all live on Sky as well.

League position 31/08/2011: 8th (PTS 7, P 5)

September

Already in August we had become the come-back kicks and that theme continued into September. Impressive fights against Burnley and Portsmouth bagged six points and the first away win of the season. The side also proved their worth in the league when narrowly losing 1-0 to West Ham.

League position 30/09/2011: 7th (PTS 13, P 9)

October

The honeymoon period was all but over by this point but another two great come-backs bagged six points. Firstly Posh recorded consecutive wins on the road when coming behind against Bristol City to win 2-1. Secondly London Road was set alight when two goals in the last five minutes saw Posh come from 3-2 down to beat Cardiff 4-3.

League position 31/10/2011: 12th (PTS 19, P 14)

November

Yet again there were countless fight-backs in November. Starting off with the first win in three games to beat Derby 3-2. Next up promotion hopefuls Birmingham City were stunned by the determination of a little Posh side when they were pegged to a 1-1 draw. The saviour goal is one of the best of the year when Grant McCann used millimetre precision to squeeze the ball into the goal from an impossibly tight angle.

League position 30/11/2011: 13th (PTS 24, P 19)

December

Games in December may have seen less goals than usual but rather promisingly things at the other end of the pitch have seen massive improvements. Not only can Posh now score goals they can also defend them with solid performances against Coventry and Nottingham Forest bringing the first clean sheets of the season. The year was rounded off nicely with a gutsy performance against a strong Middlesbrough game.

League position 31/12/2011: 15th (PTS 32, P 24)

Here’s hoping 2012 will prove as entertaining.

Up the Posh!

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