Merry Christmas one and all! I hope you roused yourself from the brandy butter haze you may or may not have been in, ready for this tricky tie against the Posh.
The only change from Saturday was Big E starting instead of Sam Smith which, dare I say it, before the game made sense. Heading into this fixture, Peterborough were top of pretty much every form table in League One (last six, home form, overall form…). However, we’d also crept up the rankings as a direct result of… well, results (funny how that works isn’t it).
We started shakily from a defensive point of view, forcing me to shout “just clear it” through mouthfuls of day-old trifle. I deeply enjoyed Lewis Wing juggling the ball like some sort of ex-Soccer AM showboater and the fact that, generally, we looked OK. Not trailblazing, but OK. The fans sitting north of the massive flag of Big John (Google him - he says “bosh” a lot) were making plenty of noise.
I was beginning to feel positive, to the point that the blue socks we were wearing were no longer bothering me. This warm feeling of optimism and positivity wouldn’t last, however. From around the 33rd minute, we began living like a person toying with the idea of eating partially opened salmon pate - ie dangerously.
Posh hit the post, huffed and puffed and generally looked a bit more potent. And then of course, it happened. A routine cross was converted with a neat header, which highlighted once again that, as a team, we are defensively naive. From that point on, it was one-way traffic until half-time.
It was pretty clear that Big E needed to be hooked - he wasn’t holding the ball, wasn’t getting the service and confirmed to me that he cannot play as a one up top. It made sense to have Smith as the first sub in the game, with others following later in the half.
It was very nearly 2-0 but the goal was flagged offside and we were given a small reprieve to compose ourselves. And composure was exactly what we got. Direct running from Femi Rodrygo Azeez saw a decent ball into the box turned in by the most handsome man in Berkshire, Sam Smith. Some decent fight was evident and I was bloody loving it, I have to say.
Azeez hit the bar before yet more tragic defending allowed Peterborough to get their beaks in front once again. At this point, the bag of crisps I was eating went across the room, followed by a cushion. Livid didn’t cover it. Credit where it’s due though: we didn’t sit back, we didn’t stop. We were looking for an equaliser. AND WE GOT IT!
Femi Rodrygo Azeez only scores bangers, I’m convinced of it. An absolute pile-driver shot into the net like a snap from a cracker. Delicious tekkers. He caught it very, very well to send the travelling support (and those at their mother-in-law’s home) into absolute raptures.
This is up there with my favourite results and performances from the season thus far. We were pegged back twice and, despite that, didn’t really deserve to be behind. Getting ourselves back into the game, against an in-form team and showing some fight, was top of the Christmas list.
Yes it’s a point, yes it leaves us still in the basement as a result of other scores, but it builds on what has been on show for a few games now. Cut out the poor defending, be a bit more proactive in the early stages of the game and we might start turning these draws into wins. Have a god few days and see you at Cheltenham.
Until next time.