|Peterborough United 2 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 9th February 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Peterborough United 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 9th Feb 2021 21:07
James Norwood gave Town an early lead at London Road but goals from Jonson Clarke-Harris and Joe Ward saw Peterborough to a 2-1 victory over the Blues. Norwood hit his third goal of the season in the sixth minute but Clarke-Harris headed a leveller in the 38th minute and then Ward won it with a free-kick five minutes after the break.
Skipper Chambers came in at right-back for Luke Matheson, who dropped to the bench, while Ward was back on the left with Myles Kenlock among the subs.
Bishop returned at the top of a narrow midfield diamond with Norwood joining Troy Parrott up front, Town eschewing their usual 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 system presumably due to the tricky London Road pitch.
Former Posh wideman Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears were also on the bench, while Luke Thomas was missing from the 18.
Peterborough were without star attacker Siriki Dembele with Mo Eisa coming into an otherwise unchanged side.
Despite being cold, there was little sign of snow in the Peterborough area but with the pitch muddy and short on grass.
After both teams and the officials took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, Joe Ward hit a powerful fifth-minute shot which Tomas Holy claimed confidently.
A minute later, the Blues, wearing their burgundy and blue third strip, went in front. Holy kicked long - in line with the Blues’ early approach on the Sunday morning pitch - and Frankie Kent and Posh skipper Mark Beevers had got in one another’s way as they tried to head clear on the edge of the box.
Bishop reacted quickly and deftly played a pass to the left of the box for Norwood, who hit a low shot which beat keeper Christy Pym at his near post.
On 14 Downes, playing in the holding role with Dozzell ahead of him to his left and Judge to the right, was booked for what looked a solid ball-winning challenge on Dan Butler on halfway with the Posh players appealing that it should have been a red card. While the Blues midfielder won the ball, some referees may well have deemed it an out-of-control tackle.
There was a scare for Town in the 22nd minute when a ball in from the right deflected over Holy. However, the keeper moved quickly to get himself in the way as Eisa shot at goal from eight yards.
In the 28th minute, with Peterborough trying to play football despite the surface and the Blues more direct and looking to counter, Eisa cut in from the left and hit a shot into Holy’s arms.
Just before the half hour, Holy missed his punch from a corner but somehow managed to bundle it behind for another flag-kick before it dropped for a Posh player.
Norwood needed treatment for a knock on 32 soon after fouling Ward in the centre circle as Town looked to break following a Posh corner having left three players up spread widely along the halfway line at the flag-kick, as they had against Blackpool at the weekend.
Eisa shot over from the edge of the area in the 36th minute and three minutes Posh levelled.
Butler crossed from the left with Judge unable to cut it out with Chambers chasing back from being involved further up the field, and Clarke-Harris rose between Ward and Mark McGuinness to nod back across Holy and into the corner of the net, the striker’s 17th goal in all competitions this season.
In injury time Downes was spoken to by referee Ben Toner for speaking out of turn after a decision had gone against Dozzell having been booked for his earlier challenge.
Soon afterwards, with snow now falling, Toner’s whistle ended a half which had started perfectly for the Blues with Norwood’s well-taken goal.
However, Town had failed to threaten after that with Peterborough able to pass the ball around despite the pitch and use the wide areas left open by the Blues’ narrow system.
The Peterborough goal was well-deserved when it came, although looked one the Blues will see as having been preventable.
Town switched Norwood, presumably at least partly due to his injury, although the system hadn’t really worked, for ex-Posh winger Edwards at half-time. The Blues moved to 4-1-4-1 with the Welshman on the left and Bishop on the right.
Eisa hit a low shot form the right across Holy soon after the restart, the Czech getting down and across to palm it to safety out to the opposite flank.
Five minutes into the second half, Posh took the lead. After a foul by McGuinness on Clarke-Harris not far outside the area to the right, Ward struck a free-kick past the end of the Town wall and into the corner of the net with Holy watching it on its way when he should have done better.
On 55 Ward and a well-advanced Holy gave Eisa a sniff of a ball played over the top 10 yards outside the area but Downes did well to get back and cut out the danger before the Posh striker fouled him. The keeper may have expected the ball to come through to him more quickly but it held up on the heavy pitch.
With Town not having threatened, aside from a couple of blocked shots from the edge of the box, Posh went close to a third when Sammie Szmodics was unable to get enough on a well-struck low Clarke-Harris cross to divert it goalwards. Moments later, Town swapped Judge for Josh Harrop.
As the match passed the 70-minute mark the Blues were seeing most of the ball with Posh starting to tire. However on 71 Szmodics was sent away on the break on the left and hit a shot across Holy which the keeper batted away.
Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson made a triple change in the 74th minute with Ricky-Jade Jones, Idris Kanu and Ethan Hamilton replacing Eisa, Reece Brown and goalscorer Ward.
Two minutes later, Dozzell was booked for a cynical foul on Kanu with the Blues feeling Ward had been fouled moments earlier.
Peterborough claimed a penalty in the 77th minute when Szmodics hooked a shot at goal from 10 yards which ricocheted off Ward and fortunately flew straight at Holy. Posh were convinced the ball had struck the Irishman’s hand but referee Toner wasn’t interested.
Within a minute Szmodics hit a powerful effort from distance which Holy palmed wide before Sears replaced Bishop with a third Posh goal looking more likely than a Town second. Edwards moved to the right with Sears on the left.
As the game moved into its final five minutes there were the first signs of snow settling on the pitch.
Town had rarely threatened throughout the second half but in the penultimate scheduled minute, a Parrott shot was well saved by Pym following a corner and then the former Exeter keeper saved sharply again down at his right post from Harrop.
The Blues were unable to create another opportunity and referee Toner’s whistle confirmed Posh’s victory, a double over the visitors and yet another Town defeat to a side towards the top of the table.
Despite having got off to such a good start, the Blues were second best in the first half taking a direct approach which seemed to be an over the top reaction to the state of the Peterborough pitch.
The narrow midfield allowed the home side, who seemed to have little problem passing despite the surface, to attack down the flanks from which they scored their first goal.
Town switched back to a more regular system and approach at half-time but were again bested by Posh, who probably should have won more comfortably with the Blues only going close to a leveller right at the end.
A first away defeat in four sees Town drop back to 11th, but still four points off the play-offs ahead of Saturday’s trip to Shrewsbury, who beat Sunderland 2-1 at home this evening.
Peterborough: Pym, Butler, Thompson, Beevers (c), Kent, Eisa (Jones 74), Taylor, Clarke-Harris, Brown (Kanu 74), Szmodics, Ward (Hamilton 74). Unused: Gyollai, Burrows, Blake-Tracy, Mason.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward, Dozzell, Downes, Bishop, Judge (Harrop 64), Parrott, Norwood (Edwards 46). Unused: Cornell, Kenlock, Matheson, Sears, Drinan. Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire).
Photo: Action Images
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