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Honestly, 1-0 Is Fine – Peterborough United 4-4 Southampton

Due to time constraints the normal style of match report on here has not been possible. Here is a few reactions from the Southampton game though:

1. We’re fantastically entertaining. When match day tickets, and season ticket prices, were announced to be on the increase at the start of the season many felt that they had been priced out of visiting London Road. Yet, even after dropping down a level, few could complain about the amount of entertainment at London Road this season and we’ve certainly got value for money. A massive 77 goals have been scored here in just 15 games. And with masses being scored and conceded under Johnson, since Ferguson has returned the average has increased further. 20 goals have been in seen in just 3 games at London Road, since Ferguson’s re-appointment. In-fact we are still to see a home game, in league or cup, which has had less than 3 goals! And we have the cheapest ticket price per goal ratio in the Football League!


2. Lee Tomlin, Craig Mackail-Smith and George Boyd are the best attacking line-up in the division. Whilst Southampton’s strike-force is lauded, and rightly so, they have some excellent players, this trio has the makings of being even better than the previous trinity and is, beyond doubt, the best attacking line-up in this league. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been tipped for a massive move from the Saints but if any scouts were there then they may well have reported back that they should be looking at Lee Tomlin instead. Tomlin is an incredible player; the ability he has to make something out of nothing is outstanding and rarely found outside the top division in this country. He has already become a key player in this side and will continue to develop further – he only made the step up from the Conference in the summer. £125,000 for him is an absolute bargain and he is already worth over 10 times this amount, in my opinion. It is no surprise that Kevin Russell has said that Tomlin is the best player that he has ever worked with this week. Moving onto Mackail-Smith, who had one of his best appearances in a Posh shirt on Saturday. Whilst we see his tireless effort week after week he never ceases to amaze me. His first goal showed all his good qualities and as soon as the ball bounced beyond Seaborne there was only ever going to be one player who got to the ball. The finish was superb and whilst Mackail-Smith has been a tad wasteful in previous seasons he has now added a predatory instinct to his game. Make sure to register your votes for him to be 2010 player of the year here:


3. The return of Darren Ferguson has brought London Road back to life. After weeks of having lifelessness around Peterborough United Football Club all of a sudden there is a buzz again. A buzz that hasn’t been there since last time he was at the club. London Road was rocking at times on Saturday and it is a credit to the style of football we are playing under him too – we’re looking to pass the ball when attacking rather than smashing it aimlessly down the channels for Mackail-Smith to chase after as we had a tendency to do under Johnson’s reign. Personally, I was beginning to find it hard to gather the motivation to continue to travel to away games on a regular basis towards the end of Johnson’s reign. Dare I say it following Posh was starting to become more of a chore than something enjoyable. Now, it’s how I remember it before and it’s a question of counting the days until the next game – Posh feels special again. The players seem to have realised it too. We’ve taken 7 points (out of a possible 15) since Ferguson’s return in what have been a tricky set of fixtures – against Hartlepool, Brighton and Southampton under Johnson we didn’t gain a point. And whilst the points tally has not been massive we have remained competitive in every fixture since Ferguson has returned and probably have deserved more points than the amount of points we have got. There is also a noticeable fighting spirit in the team, something that was pivotal when Fergie JNR was here before, and this side just doesn’t give up. No longer do we roll over for big clubs. We stood toe to toe with the biggest, and arguably the best, team at this level and matched them for 90 minutes.

4. If we could defend we would be top of this league. It is, of course, a basic thing to say. You don’t need to have watched Posh to realise where the problems lie. The table shows you all you need to know. 55 goals conceded in 27 games. Indeed, only second bottom Bristol Rovers have conceded more. And, although we simply cannot revert from our strategy of trying to out-score the opposition – our strengths lies in attack – we must improve at the back. The return of Gabriel Zakuani should improve things but considering we have a defence that cost over a £1,000,000 to put together this tally should be far better than it currently is.

5. Incompetent officials plague this division. Whilst both sides can be unsatisfied with the referee on Saturday – he awarded both teams a dubious penalty – we have the most right to complain. Not only did he miss a number of blatant fouls on Mackail-Smith throughout the game. Richard Chaplow’s dive should have resulted in a yellow card, his second of the match, and then we would have had almost a half playing against ten men of Southampton with the scoreline at 2-2. Would we have won the game? Who knows. But it would have certainly been an easier prospect than having to fight back from two goals behind against 11 men for the second time in the game. The fact the penalty awarded to us at the end, for hand-ball, which appeared to strike Oxlade-Chamberlain on the rib-cage, may have gone some way to making amends but his decision to award a second penalty to Southampton may well have cost us three points.

Up The Posh

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  1. Jack

    7 February, 2011 at 21:39

    Another good read, thanks for this.

    I always seem to miss the absolute belters. I missed this game due to other commitments, and i also missed the 4-4 with Cardiff last season.

    I agree with all of your points, especially about Tomlin.
    The guy is such an incredible footballer, you only need to look at his performances since he joined us, and his excellent goal against Fulham.
    I’ll be really suprised if he doesn’t at some point in his career end up playing in the premier league (hopefully with Posh).
    If Chamberlain is worth £10m, then Lee can’t be far off!

    Up the Posh.

  2. John Verrall

    7 February, 2011 at 21:42

    Thanks Jack,

    Tomlin is a class act. Can’t believe he was in the Conference for so long to be honest. But we’re lucky to have been the team that took a chance on him. I’m not particularly interested in the Boyd/Tomlin debate. Both are amazing footballers and could play at a higher level – I’m just enjoying watching both of them play together.

  3. fozzy

    7 February, 2011 at 21:48

    Both of our pens were the correct decision. If you are naive enough to put your arm up in the area in the last few minutes then you deserve to have a spot kick awarded against you. Langmead was chopped down, no attempt to play the ball-clear pen.

    I won’t start on their penalties, I know what happened and so do chamberlain and chaplow, just a shame the ref fell for it.

    Its not often I say this but I felt we were robbed. We have had some shocking refs this season but this is the first time (from the 13 odd games I have seen) that the men in black have been the main cause in us failing to get a result I felt we deserved.

    Southampton are a good side, they were well drilled and looked organised for the large part. However, the fact they converted 2 penalties and scored another 2 (without the officals’ help) and still only managed to draw is pretty poor. That said, our own defensive errors are to blame as well and against barnard and the like any mistakes will get punished.

  4. Jack

    7 February, 2011 at 22:00

    I think Southampton’s first penalty was stone wall really, Little got the wrong side and hacked him down, can’t really have many complaints.
    However, their second was a farce, Chaplow just jumped to the ground and should have been booked again.
    Playing against 10-men we would have won the game, no question.

  5. Chris Sharpe

    7 February, 2011 at 22:01

    Another great read John – I’m sending this to a Saints mate.

    I agree, watching POSH is special again. The potential is HEWGE!


  6. John Verrall

    7 February, 2011 at 22:05

    Thanks Chris,

    I’d agree with Jack that Southampton’s first penalty was one. Little trips Chamberlain who, perhaps, could have stayed on his feet but I don’t think we can have too many complains – despite my opinion at the ground being that it looked soft.

    As for our second I’m not so sure it was. Although it’s pretty silly for Chamberlain to do, inexperience showing perhaps, the ball does not appear to strike his arm and therefore no penalty can be awarded.

    The failure to spot Chaplow’s dive could have been the difference between one and three points though. But to be fair it was a great game and a fantastic advert for League One football, to which both teams contributed, and I don’t think we should allow the referee’s incompetence to detract from that.

  7. gavh

    7 February, 2011 at 22:23

    Not posted on here for a while John, but im hearing many outstanding reviews on Lee Tomlin, Leicester City had him in the youth academy and it sounds like we let a real gem go.

    How is he doing at Peterborough, and how is James Wesolowski also getting on, he was a great prospect at Leicester and deserved more game time but not heard much about him since he was at London Road.

    Good luck for the rest of the season, still keeping tabs on League 1 and 2 as I love my football.

  8. John Verrall

    7 February, 2011 at 22:26

    Good to hear from you again Gav,

    Tomlin is an outstanding player. Was speaking about leaving Leicester in the programme a while ago and saying that he was disappointed to leave. But yes, if you have kept him I would hasten a guess he would be in your first team at the minute… even with the relative superstars you have managed to attract to the Championship!

    As for Weso he has made an inconsistent start. As a battler he is fantastic. But he struggles on the ball at times. I still feel he should have had more game time and he would probably make it into my starting line-up but he is a solid, rather than spectacular, midfielder from what I have seen so far.

  9. Alex

    7 February, 2011 at 23:35

    I don’t think Chaplow dived for their second penalty, I think he just lost balance and went down. It was soft, yes, but I am sure if it was for Posh, we would have been screaming for a pen. I thought that Southampton played well and scored a good fourth goal from Hammond, i think. Mackail-Smith was really good and had the beating of their defence and as you mentioned Tomlin was class. I think a draw was a fair result and I would tip Southampton for promotion.

  10. gavh

    8 February, 2011 at 00:06

    He sounds a fantastic player, from Leicester aswell his goalscoring record at Rushden and Diamonds didn’t live up to much but I guess it’s not all about scoring goals.

    I was impressed with Wesolowski at City, it’s a real shame he hasn’t performed on a regular basis at Peterborough as I thought he would of fitted in at League 1 level perfectly well.

    As Tomlin is a winger/striker I actually still think Leicester are missing someone in that position, all these defenders we seem to keep loaning in are not needed in my view. The names are all class players and Sven has made a real turn around, Naughton has been fantastic and Bamba from Hibernian has been a very good buy.

    No doubt I will be back posting on a Peterborough article soon, caught a bit of the 4-4 draw on Saturday, and yet again goals galore everywhere for you lot.

  11. Richard Green

    8 February, 2011 at 00:34

    As a Saints fan (who works in Peterborough) I must applaud Alex for his view on the game. It was a soft penalty but everyone gets one of those from time to time and it was evened up by your second penalty that didn’t hit Oxo’s arm at all. It’s good to get a balanced view from a home fan (I’m guilty of giving biased opinions) and it was good of him to tip us for promotion. I’m not so sure we will, because even though on paper we have the strongest squad in league 1, we make too many defensive errors (something Peterborough are familiar with). One last point. The papers go on about how good Chamberlain is (he is only 17 and has bags of potential), but our best player wasn’t even on the bench. Adam Llana is far more valuble to us. He has vision way beyond his years, works hard and scores goals regularly. When he is back and fit, maybe Alex’s prediction of promotion can become reality.

  12. Maxi Hobbs

    8 February, 2011 at 00:49

    Fair play, liking the research with the £ per goal!

    The posh never cease to amaze me, got a real soft spot for them just simply because of the way they play. CMS just always seems to score, Boyd is class but I’m amazed at how well Tomlin has done after his Conference move. His reviews seem to be as good as they could be… well done to him, although I’d still like to judge for myself one day!

    Regarding the officials, I think every league is plagued by them. I just go by the adage of “Swings and roundabouts” whenever we get a shocker

  13. Glinton Posh

    8 February, 2011 at 07:53

    There is nothing in this blog I can disagree with

    Like you at the end of Johnson I had enough of the long ball and hope … we had lost the plot and was in a false position in the league .. I was more thinking of relegation than playoffs.

    Since Fergie return we have been a different team …. playing football again and the buzz is back

    Are we going up . who knows but the feel for Posh is back and cant wait till the next match

  14. John Verrall

    8 February, 2011 at 16:58

    Cheers GP, your last statement is exactly how I feel at the minute. To be fair I think we will be in the playoffs at the end of the season…

    Richard, I can’t see how Saints cannot go up to be honest. Your squad is superior to everybody elses at this level, player for player, and although you may have to settle for second place (Brighton are not looking like slipping up) I think you’ll be in the Championship next season.

    Maxi, I’d agree with you on officiating standards. Even when we were in the Championship last season the referees were no better. It is a difficult job but, for me, some are particularly incompetent. The sooner video evidence is introduced, in my opinion, the better. Although that is another debate.

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