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: http://www.npower.com/fl/index.htm
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.
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