|Peterborough United 0 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 9th March 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Peterborough 0-0 Town
Saturday, 9th Mar 2013 17:03
Frank Nouble came closest to breaking the deadlock as the Blues’ trip to Peterborough ended in a 0-0 draw. The January signing from Wolves struck the woodwork from 25 yards and then forced Posh keeper Bobby Olejnik into a fine save during the first half.
Mick McCarthy handed Jay Tabb his Blues debut, Nouble his first Town start and Elliott Hewitt his first Blues start in the league.
Skipper Carlos Edwards was only considered fit enough for a place on the bench due to the groin injury that saw him miss the midweek trip to Nottingham Forest, while Michael Chopra was out with a dead leg and Lee Martin and Richard Stearman were suspended after their red cards at the City Ground.
Hewitt was at right-back, Nouble up front alongside the returning David McGoldrick with Daryl Murphy dropping to the bench. New loan signing Tabb was in Martin’s usual role on the left of midfield
Luke Chambers was again wearing the armband, while Jay Emmanuel-Thomas returned to the 18 after missing the midweek defeat due to illness. Peterborough included former Blues loanee Tyrone Barnett amongst their subs, while former Posh star Aaron Mclean was on the bench for Town.
As the game began in persistent drizzle, there was an early scare for the white-shirted Blues when Lee Tomlin, scorer of a hat-trick in Posh’s 7-1 win in the corresponding fixture last season, flicked the ball through to Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, but Aaron Cresswell got across to put the ball behind for a corner.
From the flagkick, Danny Swanson hit a volley from the edge of the box which deflected well over the bar.
On 11, a long spell of Posh possession ended with left-back and skipper Tommy Rowe hitting a shot into the sidenetting from 25 yards. The home side had had the better of the opening spell with the Blues yet to really get going.
Peterborough should have gone in front in the 16th minute when Tomlin was played in on the left of the area as Andy Drury slipped but scraped his shot across the face of Stephen Henderson’s goal and wide.
A minute later, Posh, still very much on top, had another chance after a cross was half-cleared to the edge of the box, but Jack Payne hit his shot against Dwight Gayle.
Cresswell lashed Town’s first shot over the game high and wide on 17 after a corner from the right had been cleared to him 30 yards from goal. On 20 Drury had a more promising effort blocked by Gabriel Zakuani. Moments later, Swanson picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Hewitt.
McGoldrick took the ball in from the left and found himself space to shoot 25 yards out in the 23rd minute, but scuffed well wide. A minute later, Guirane N’Daw was teed up by Luke Hyam on the edge of the area but made a poor pass when he ought to have had a go at goal.
Nouble went close to scoring his first goal for the Blues in the 26th minute when he found himself in space 20 yards out and struck a powerful effort which hit the outside of Bobby Olejnik’s left post.
Soon after, with Town coming more into the game and the 2,000-strong Blue Army making most of the noise, debutant Tabb stabbed Drury’s corner from the right wide.
Chambers made an important challenge to dispossess Rowe with the Posh skipper about to unleash a shot at goal from close range on the half-hour mark.
But despite that chance, Town were by now in control of the game and a minute later Nouble again went close to putting the Blues ahead. The former Wolves man cut in from the left, beat Michael Bostwick and hit a shot which Olejnik just managed to get enough on to in order to divert it wide. From the corner, Nouble headed Drury’s near-post ball wide.
In the 37th minute, Mendez-Laing became the second Posh player to pick up a booking for a foul on Hewitt.
Nouble headed a looping Drury cross to Olejnik in the 40th minute, a difficult bounce on the tricky London Road surface having prevented the midfielder from hitting the shot which initially appeared to be on.
The Blues ended the half in the ascendency and Mick McCarthy will probably have been the happier of the two bosses during the break.
Posh had started the stronger and almost caught the Blues cold in the opening minute, while Tomlin will feel he ought to have scored his shot across the face, but as the period wore on McCarthy’s men gradually took control.
Nouble was unlucky with his strike against the post, but having done the hard work, will probably feel he should have been celebrating his first Town goal from his subsequent opportunity, although keeper Olejnik did well to save.
As for the other debutants, Hewitt was making a significant impact down the Blues’ right, getting in a number of crosses, while Tabb was showing his tenacity down the other flank.
It was the home side who threatened first after the break, Mendez-Laing crossing from the right after Cresswell had slipped. The ball came out to Swanson, whose shot from the edge of the box deflected just wide.
Town came close in the 52nd minute when Hyam dinked a ball across from the right to McGoldrick, whose goalbound strike was brilliantly blocked by Mark Little.
McGoldrick went even closer a minute later when his header from Drury’s right-wing cross was superbly tipped away by Olejnik with the rebound not falling kindly for Nouble.
Just after the hour mark, Henderson was forced into his first save of the afternoon when Rowe hit a low strike to his right, Hewitt clearing the loose ball.
McGoldrick saw a shot blocked, Nouble curled one wide, then in the 65th minute the former West Ham man sent across a low ball towards the in-rushing Tabb but Little stabbed it away from the new loan signing as he was about to add the final touch.
Town were still very much on top with the home crowd becoming increasingly frustrated with the ease with which their team were surrendering possession. On 67 N’Daw hit a shot through to Olenjik but without seriously testing him.
A minute later Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson made a triple change. Ex-Blues loan man Barnett took over from Swanson, Joe Newell from Mendez-Laing and Kgosi Ntlhe from Grant McCann, while for Town ex-Peterborough man Aaron Mclean came on for Nouble.
Mclean, who was warmly welcomed back to London Road by his old fans, won an early corner with a deflected shot.
Barnett came closer at the other end, heading Little’s 75th minute right-wing cross over when he will feel he might have done better.
Drury forced Olejnik into a save with a 20-yard shot on 77, then at the other end Gayle volleyed a ball coming over his shoulder wide. Emmanuel-Thomas took over from Drury for the Blues with nine minutes remaining.
Town felt they should have had a penalty in the 84th minute when a loose ball appeared to strike Jack Payne on the hand, however, referee James Linington waved away the protests. It might have been harsh had it been given.
Mclean hit a low shot which Olejnik, significantly the busier of the keepers, saved down to his left as the game moved into its final five minutes.
The Blues were still largely on top, but Posh were threatening on the break and in the 87th minute Tomlin shot too close to Henderson when found well-positioned inside the area.
On the balance of the game, the home side would have been happier to hear referee Linington’s whistle blown with the score 0-0.
After Posh had started strongly, the Blues had been on top of one of the livelier 0-0s you’ll see. However, aside from Nouble’s first-half opportunity there weren’t many clear-cut chances, McGoldrick’s second-half header which was well-saved the best, despite Town’s dominance.
The result - Peterborough's first 0-0 draw for 172 matches since a stalemate against Town at Portman Road in December 2009 - leaves the Blues four points from the relegation places but having dropped to 20th after Sheffield Wednesday’s victory at Leicester.
Peterborough: Olejnik, Little, Rowe (c), Zakuani, Bostwick, McCann (Nthle 68), Tomlin, Swanson (Barnett 68), Payne, Gayle, Mendez-Laing (Newell 68). Unused: Day, Alcock, Brisley, Ferdinand.
Town: Henderson, Hewitt, Chambers (c), Smith, Cresswell, Drury (Emmanuel-Thomas 81), Hyam, N'Daw, Tabb, McGoldrick, Nouble (Mclean 68). Unused: Loach, Kisnorbo, Mings, Edwards, Murphy. Referee: James Linington (Newport). Att: 9,367 (Town: 2,611)
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