Saturday's good performance and result have tipped the balance once again so we're going into this afternoon's match in a much more optimistic mood. I managed to buy a ticket over the phone on Saturday so I'll be setting off in two hours and I'm feeling positive. There's been a lot of debate about changes in the starting line-up and whether we'll have another shake-up in the back four but why change a winning side that kept a clean sheet? Ozturk was at times dangerously rough around the penalty area but there was a huge improvement over the Coventry debacle. The return of Catts surely helped a lot as well. I don't know of any injuries but one or two players may be rested with so many matches coming up and only make an appearance from the bench. I'm hoping Maguire will play, for a while at least, and with what he can produce in addition to McGeady's runs I think we'll be too much for Peterborough. They'll be battling to try and get into the last play-off position but I think we'll out-battle them. Our immediate rivals haven't got easy games either with Portsmouth at home to Coventry in the 12.30 kick-off and Barnsley away to Plymouth. Match prediction: 2-1 to us.
On the train up I checked the scores and was delighted to see that Coventry had taken an early lead against Portsmouth and they sounded well on top right upto half-time. They were fighting for a play-off place themselves and could do us a major favour by getting even a draw. I strolled in the sunshine through the unusually pleasant city centre in Peterborough and got to the stadium an hour or so before kick-off. I picked up my ticket no problem and chatted to ALS supremo Martyn and his dad as well as Eileen, editor of the London Branch's 'Wear Down South' magazine, before heading for the East Stand. As I began to ascend the stairs a lad next to me said, “I'll see yer upstairs, dad. I'm dyin' for a poo!” which was maybe indicative of pre-match tension. Anyway, maybe he'd heard the news that Portsmouth had pulled two goals back. I watched the last ten minutes or so of the match while slurping a Carlsberg and Portsmouth eventually won. Well, we'd just have to win again. There was a loud chant going around, “Si senor – get the ball to Wyke and he will score” that I'd never heard before. Those big rubbish bins came in handy for a spot of percussion to drive it all along.
I had a great seat right in the middle of our end behind the goal and our fans also occupied almost half of the stand to our right. We were unchanged and I was happy about that. Oviedo was yellow-carded for a foul within two minutes or so and it made me wonder how sympathetic the ref would be to any of Ozturk's challenges in the box. From the off Wyke was getting in the thick of things all over the pitch and he was looking good. Naismith had the first shot on target in the tenth minute but it was a weak effort and Posh didn't muster much more of a threat for the rest of the half. We played the much more stylish football, often building it slowly from the back and Morgan was looking particularly effective down their left. Power had a decent shot on target while Wyke had a very good chance when he was put through with about twelve minutes to go but under pressure from a defender and with Chapman in goal coming out, his effort went wide. We had two goalbound efforts denied by Chapman in stoppage-time and as the whistle went the mood among our fans was bright.
Shortly after we kicked off again Portsmouth won a free-kick just near the right angle of our box but after the ref consulted with his assistant he changed his mind, giving us a free-kick and booking Maddison for diving. He was booed every time he touched the ball thereafter. We certainly weren't as fluent in the second period and Peterborough started pushing us back more. On the hour we had a penalty shout when O'Nien went down but all we got was a corner. We made three changes between the sixty-fifth and eightieth minutes replacing Honeyman, Morgan and McGeady with Grigg, Gooch and Maguire but we were wasting too many chances through bad passes and misunderstandings while starting to rely on long punts upfield. It was looking like a goalless draw till about three minutes from time when we took the lead. It started with a Peterborough free-kick to the right of our box but when this was blocked we broke down the right. A pass from O'Nien came across to Power and running on he smashed a great low shot into the bottom left-hand corner. I really thought we'd won it and pandemonium broke out with a lad from behind tumbling over into our row, a flare going off and one of the faithful ending up on the pitch and showing rather too much bum-crack. Seven minutes of stoppage-time were announced and that put the dampeners on our fans but not as much as two minutes later when they broke down the left and a low cross from sub Toney found Godden in too much space in our box and his low shot into the bottom left corner gave McLaughlin no chance. We were lucky not to lose as just before the end a Godden shot whistled just over the bar when I'd though it was in.
As the whistle went there was an awful silence in our end and walking back to the station neither set of fans had much to shout about as a draw was no good to either of us. I knew Barnsley must have won but I didn't confirm this till I got to the station. I'd refused to make a note of those play-off dates but it seems I'll have to be looking them up now.