A Manchester United defender would be nice

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Uncategorized | One Comment
A Manchester United defender would be nice
Image available under Creative Commons © vegaseddie
The Peterborough United of 2009-10 were one of our three most heavily covered clubs. A tempestuous period saw Darren Ferguson’s exciting young team, enriched by a luxurious three pronged attack consisting of George Boyd, Craig Mackail-Smith and Aaron McLean, learn some harsh lessons when it came to defence — by the time Mark Cooper, Jim Gannonand Gary Johnson had each taken a turn at London Road, the Championship dream was in tatters. Posh went straight back down, suffering the ignominy of a brutal 6-0 defeat at the Madejski Stadium in the run in.Back at the Mad Stad last night, it was a characteristic Posh but a more convincing one. Buoyed by the freakish, buccaneering 7-1 win over fellow East Anglians Ipswich in August, Peterborough sit proudly in mid table as it stands, well clear of the Coventry and Doncaster teams they were harshly grouped with by pundits at the season’s commencement. MacLean departed almost a year ago now and CMS this Summer, but the formation retains similarities.Boyd, having enjoyed a brief spell at Nottingham Forest on loan, is now back and continues to impress with his piratical raids into opposing penalty areas. Once again, he proved a real handful, but I was struck too by the pacy displays of his new forward companions.

Emile Sinclair and Paul Taylor were both long shot signings but both looked superb here. Taylor in particular has suffered a piebald career — having graced the turf at one of England’s least favourite arenas, the Stade du Pays de Charleroi and elsewhere — but here he was too often too quick for Reading’s lumbering left side of Kaspars GorkÅ¡s and Ian Harte — only poor finishing cost him dear, although it was Sinclair who was to miss the best chance — a veritable hand out from Harte was sent skewing wide of Adam Federici’s right upright.

Plucked from Macclesfield, Sinclair nonetheless pounced on a horrendous goalkeeping mix up to peg the score back to 3-2 at the start of injury time. His performance will have been boosted by a remarkably effective central midfield trio behind him. Lee Tomlin occasionally dwells in possession and as the evening drew on, Mikele Leigertwood began to slowly get the better of him, but the now long serving Tommy Rowe nodded in the opening goal and Grant McCann was a revelation in the Makà©là©là© role.

Spraying passes like a biblical sower, McCann ran the game for the first twenty minutes — to such an extent that Noel Hunt was enlisted to drop deep to ‘sit’ on him at throw ins and other set pieces. The home side on this occasion have been linked with the ex-Scunthorpe midfielder in the past and that’s no wonder — in a league where a number of men excel in the holding position (think also Peter Whittingham), McCann still stands out.

Sadly, the same demons that beset Posh on their last sojourn in Division Two are still there. A defensive four of Tom Kennedy, Craig Alcock, Ryan Bennett and Congolese centre half Gabriel Zakuani struggled against Reading’s hitherto less than potent strike force. A succession of first half corners saw the Cambridgeshire side pegged back continually and the frustration must have risen as the forward players became increasingly starved of service. Still, Brian McDermott had to introduce Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson-Kanu frtom the bench to force the win — both scoring and the latter in spectacular style, albeit aided by some defending Moses will have been proud of (the witnesser of bush burnings, not the former Barnsley defender Adie, that is). Paul Jones did nothing to disgrace himself in goal.

So, if the points gap looks comfortable for the moment, Fergie Junior will surely be looking for one key player in the January window. Dad has shown fierce loyalty to son before, so what price Man Yoo kids Michael Keane or Reece Brown showing up down London Road.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.

1 Comment

  1. New Season; Same Old Problems for Posh | The Two Unfortunates
    August 29, 2012

    […] has been the same. From a 3-2 defeat against Newcastle United in April 2010 to an identical reverse against Reading last autumn, a buccaneering attacking display has been let down by shoddy defending. Posh have been […]


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