By Gerry PrewettPeterborough United head to face Bristol Rovers at the Mem in a very patchy run of form.
The Posh have never really put any run of form together at all yet this season. They have yet to put two winning games together, conversely they have not lost two games successively. Their most consistent spell started at the beginning of September when they drew five out of seven games, collecting five points from 21 on offer.
In their latest game, Posh went down meekly to a 1-0 home defeat to AFC Wimbledon. The East Midlanders failed to create a single clear-cut chance in 90 minutes. The only goal of the game came after just 10 minutes George Francomb corner to the back-post was met by an unchallenged Jonathan Meades who headed it back across goal for Tom Elliott to glance it past Luke McGee in the Posh goal from close range.
Francomb's next corner almost led to the Dons doubling their lead as Chris Whelpdale's header was saved before Jake Reeves' follow-up was blocked. On 29 minutes McGee saved Elliott's initial effort before his follow-up hit the post. Elliott came closest to doubling the lead after the break when his lob bounced off the far post.
Posh Boss Grant McCann expressed his anger at his team’s performance after the game,“We had no chance of getting anything out of the game. We were way off it from when Callum Chettle got brushed off the ball in the second minute. Their whole team brushed us off the ball as if we weren’t there.”
“We got bullied, we didn’t show any urgency, especially in the first-half. To come in at one-nil, they must have thought it was a travesty. But we thought in the changing room, ‘it might go our way in the second-half, the pendulum might swing’. We were a little better in the second-half, but we didn’t really threaten them. It was just a completely disappointing day.”
Rovers have not beaten the Posh since 3 February 2007 when goals by Rickie Lambert, Richard Walker and Stuart Campbell for Rovers and Dan Crow and Aaron McLean for the away team gave Rovers a 3-2 victory at the Mem.
On the opening day of the 2006/07 promotion season United dealt out Rovers a 4-1 thrashing on 2nd September 1967. Like most teams Rovers started the season full of expectation. What they didn’t expect was to find a ‘borough team on fire. Jamie Day, Richard Butler and Simon Yeo all scored in half an hour of devastation to give Posh and unassailable half-time lead. Despite a reply from Sammy Igoe, a Lloyd Opera finish saw an emphatic win for the home team
On 25 February 2006 Rovers recorded their last victory at London Road 2-1, after Junior Agogo had scored Rovers first goal he was sent off shortly after Richard Walker’s goal gave the Gas a 2-0 lead. Dean Holden pulled one back for the Posh but it was not enough.
On 3 February 2007 at the Mem, Posh scored two early goals by Adam Newton and Dave Farrell had Dean Holden sent off, Rovers pulled back the two goals, by Richard Walker and Steve Elliott and then conspired to allow Richard Logan to score a 73rd minute winner. It was a dour performance by a Rovers team sadly lacking in confidence.
Rovers first League meeting with Peterborough was on 4th September 1962 when goals by Keith Williams, Ian Hamilton and Bobby Jones secured a 3-1 win for the Pirates in front of an 11,860 Eastville crowd. Just 6 days later the Posh gained their revenge with a 1-0 victory at London Road.
On 15th September 1964 Rovers gained their biggest win over Peterborough when an Alfie Biggs’ hat trick and a goal by Bobby Jones gave the Pirates a 4-0 win. Rovers’ first goal was a penalty when the Referee Setchell ruled that Ian Hamilton's goal bound header was deliberately handled by Graham Birks. The 17,415 crowd were denied a sight of crowd entertainer and Irish international Derek Dougan who was out injured.
The following season Rovers keeper Bernard Hall had a good reason to remember the game. Diving at the feet of Peterborough's dangerous winger Tom Watson, Hall caught a kick to the head and the tip of his left ear was removed. It was never found!
In total there have been 36 meetings between the teams. Rovers have won 14, there have been 11 draws and Peterborough have come out on top 11 times. In the West of England the games have yielded 3 United victories, 10 to Rovers and 5 draws.
Posh Chairman Darragh MacAnthony Took to Twitter after the Wimbledon game and he was angry, in his sights was forward Paul Taylor, a Grant McCann signing who he suggested he did not rate and regretted signing. “Judge Tom Nichols when he has a proper strike partner. Tom’s on his own, is the second highest scorer & assister. Taylor was brought in to do the same not play Roy of Rovers football that’s ineffective.”
He went on “I have an addiction to wanting to see front players & goal action pal not any formation. But unfortunately one of them is allergic to the box!”
Lashing out at the rest of the team he Tweeted, “The talent & skill is there but the heart doesn’t show up enough at moment.”
The irony of all this was that in their previous game United had demolished local rivals Northampton, 3-0.