The win at Oxford and Gooch's goal in particular have given us all a great boost but we may be brought back to earth with a bump this afternoon. It seems like a lifetime ago but when Peterborough got that late equalizer against us in April last year, it ruined our promotion hopes and they soundly beat us in the one game we managed last season so I'm very wary of them. A win against such rivals would really establish us as serious promotion candidates and we've certainly been creating plenty of goalscoring chances. There's been considerable debate about whether Gooch should start today but if he doesn't, it'd still be great to see him coming off the bench. In recent seasons looking at the options on the bench has given me a sinking feeling but with the likes of Scowen and Gooch on there now, it gives me hope. I think I'll stick with SAFSEE's audio as apparently there was no sound on the TV stream last Saturday. I'm sure it'll be a battle but I'm still fairly confident that we can win it so my match prediction is a 2-1 win.
When I got the team news around 2.15, I was pleased to see that both Gooch and Scowen were starting while Wyke was our only striker with O'Brien, Grigg and Graham being on the bench. Power was out injured. Clarke-Harris was starting for them and he got two goals for Bristol Rovers against us back in March.
I got the commentary on and I hoped we'd give Burge a touch of the ball very early on to get his nerves settled. Dembele had the first attempt on goal about four minutes in but Burge managed to block it, not too gracefully by the sound of it but the danger was averted. Almost at once we had a chance at the other end but Wyke didn't get on the end of it. Scowen was yellow carded for a foul and Burge did well to palm away Clarke-Harris's free-kick so that should've settled him down. Dembele was certainly putting himself about and he sounded a menace to our defence. There seem to be a lot of Dembeles around in football these days. Wyke went down injured for a while but managed to recover. Peterborough won the first corner of the match after fifteen minutes and they were clearly having the better of it. We had our first decent effort when an O'Nien header from a Hume cross went just wide and soon afterwards we won our first corner. After another shot on target commentator Nick Barnes said that we couldn't get a grip on Clarke-Harris and Dembele and it felt to me that we'd concede sooner rather than later. Gary Bennett said our build-up was far too slow and we lacked purpose. As the half-hour mark passed it was sounding dull but at least it was still goalless. Maguire suddenly went down with what sounded like a hamstring problem and he was replaced by O'Brien with seven minutes to the break. Scowen moved over to the right and O'Brien slotted in behind Wyke. We won our third corner but again it was headed clear by Clarke-Harris. Hume was our best attacker and another good pass by him from the left reached O'Nien but he couldn't get a shot together. There'd been a few injuries so there were three minutes of stoppage-time and we won another corner but yet again Clarke-Harris headed it away. It remained 0-0 at the break and Benno said that he hadn't seen anything (from us, I presume) to get him excited.
A few minutes into the second-half Scowen was handily placed to meet an O'Nien cross but he completely missed the ball and a Hume shot hit the side-netting. Our fifth corner wasn't headed away by Clarke-Harris and it resulted in a free-kick to us just outside their box though it all ended in a goal-kick. We were having probably our best patch so far as we won another corner but as if on cue my internet connection was lost. When I got it back on after five minutes, Benno and Barnsey were talking rather lugubriously about which sub would be brought on so I imagined it remained gaolless. Peterborough were still much faster at getting forward and a Taylor shot produced another good save from Burge. Clarke-Harris must still have been in defensive mode as he thoughtfully headed the resultant corner away. A few minutes later a Reed free-kick hit our bar and I was getting decidely edgy as I couldn't see us keeping a clean sheet much longer. There were twenty-five minutes to go and Parkinson needed to make some changes to give us some oomph. Would it be worth bringing Diamond on? I doubted if Graham or Grigg could be counted on to provide oomph. Anyway, Graham duly came on for Wyke in the seventy-first minute. The game seemed to be drifting towards a draw but with around ten minutes left, out of the blue Taylor fouled Hume in the box and Leadbitter coolly drove the penalty into the corner to put us ahead. Could we hold out, though? It was going to be a nervy finish so I had to start pacing the room in my time-honoured tradition. Peterborough continued to go for it and they won three corners in a row. There were five minutes of stoppage-time, which came as no surprise, and we brought on McLaughlin for Gooch. A Reed shot was deflected just past the foot of the post in the final minute but we manged to clear the corner and soon the final whistle blew.
This was a great win but not a great performance. Burge kept us in it against a good attacking side until Leadbitter's cool professionalism won the day. Well done, Grant son.