This is the game I’ve been anticipating for a long time as it’s going to be a real crunch match. If we lose, we could still go up automatically but if we win or even draw, I’m confident that we’ll go up that way. The home game seems a very long time ago and I just remember that every time Clarke-Harris and Dembele went forward they looked very dangerous. If we can stop them getting much of the ball, we should be okay and we’ve got an in-form Burge as a last resort. Of course we’re no slouches at going forward ourselves these days and every time Jones and McGeady get the ball you know they’re likely to produce some real quality. I’ll never tire of watching Jones’ setting up that goal on Friday. Some people have been slagging off Wyke for not scoring but of course he’s been very heavily marked after his great spree and it’s not as if a range of other players haven’t been banging them in. Stewart has impressed and on two occasions he’s almost scored within a minute of coming on as sub. Maybe we’ll see Hume get a start after his long lay-off and I wouldn’t argue with that. I’ll be watching the game with my usual Sunderland bubblers and my match prediction is a 1-1- draw.
I got the team news around 2.00 and Stewart was starting upfront with Wyke while both Leadbitter and Winchester were in midfield. That all seemed fine as Leadbitter’s experience should be crucial and Winchester has steadily shown that he’s a force to be reckoned with. The bench, as usual these days, was looking tasty with Hume and Gooch included but there was no sign of Maguire.
My fellow-bubblers predicted a 2-0 and a 2-1 win. The first thing I noticed when the match came on was the state of the pitch, which would probably suit Peterborough more than us. Dembele was on the bench and that suited me. The opening stages were cagey and the only real action was when O’Nien blocked a Ward effort. We won the first corner in the tenth minute following a decent Wyke shot but it just went for a throw to them. Next thing McGeady had a great shot that was blocked by a Beevers’ header and went out for another corner to us. We were definitely having the better of it and were passing it around accurately. Reed was quite rightly booked for a cynical foul as we broke into their half. A Jones on-target effort cannoned off the back of Stewart but went for out third corner. We were having a good grip on the midfield and after twenty-five minutes things were looking okay for us. Two minutes later Reed had their first shot on target but Burge had it well covered and not long after that he had to come out of his box to clear from Ward. Then Peterborough won their first corner but we got it clear. Elsewhere Hull had taken the lead at home against Northampton. Butler was booked for a foul on Jones, who as usual was being singled out for a good deal of physical attention. With four minutes to the break Burge made a great save...from O’Nien, who’d rather overdone a short back-pass or maybe he was trying to put it out for a corner. O’Nien redeemed himself just afterwards when he put pressure on Szmodics in our box and a great chance for them went begging. It remained goalless at the break and we’d done well most of the time, effectively nullifying Clarke Harris.
As we kicked off again I thought we should give O’Brien a go before too long as Stewart hadn’t been at his best. For one thing it might help the commentator pronounce O’Nien correctly. Four minutes into the half Wyke unleashed a great shot on target from the right and Pym put it out for a corner. Next thing Stewart was fouled right on the edge of their box and McGeady’s shot went just wide of the left-hand post. Just over ten minutes in, Posh brought on Dembele along with Brown and I certainly wasn’t pleased to see the former come on. We won a corner on the hour and after taking it short the ball pinballed all over the place before being cleared. Sanderson was injured in the midst of it all when a shot hit him in the face but was okay after a short while. We escaped when Szmodics hit a low shot wide and nobody could tap it so we breathed again. We were wondering when LJ was going to make a change or two when Posh took the lead in the sixty-sixth minute. Thompson fed Dembele and he hit a low shot wide of Burge giving him no chance. LJ made wholesale changes with twenty minutes to go, bringing on O’Brien, Hume, McLaughlin and Gooch for Jones, Stewart, Leadbitter and McFadzean. He usually makes effective substitutions so I hoped he’d do it again. We’d definitely lost the momentum but there was plenty of time for an equalizer. We made our final switch with ten minutes left, replacing Winchester with Scowen. Almost immediately we were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Scowen just outside their box and when Geads took the kick, he placed it wide of Pym to put us level. Pym was injured as he hit the deck and there was a considerable stoppage, meaning we’d have a load of stoppage-time, which I could do without in a way. Five minutes of stoppage-time were duly announced and I thought there would’ve been more so I was pleased. We won a corner with ninety seconds left and as long as it was up their end I was happy. The whistle went and 1 was relieved. The commentator said both sides would be happy with a draw but I can’t see how Peterborough could be happy as we’ve still got a game in hand on them.
This was always going to be a difficult match and for me this was a good result. It was a great game too.