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Peterborough United 1-3 Southampton (Posh Fan's Perspective)

Thursday 19th April 2012
Saints put in a premier performance that saw them all but clinch promotion and results elsewhere meant Peterborough mathematically stayed up.

The news that all Peterborough United fans had been waiting for, the news that confirms a successful season – The Posh are staying up (despite being odds on favourites at the start of the season) was confirmed at the close of play. Both sets of fans left happy after witnessing a brilliant display from Southampton, showing their promotion credentials.

London Road is noted for the unexpected, but even the news that came in before the match was extraordinary for Posh; Gabriel Zakuani, who had dislocated his shoulder just four days before and told his season was over, was named in the starting line-up.

As soon as the match kicked off, Southampton were on the offensive, and were rewarded with two goals in the opening 10 minutes. The first coming on the sixth minute via a Danny Fox corner which found the head of Jos Hooiveld on the right side of the six-yard box, another poor goal conceded through a set piece for Posh to add to the ever-growing gallery for the season.

The second goal came just four minutes later; Richard Chaplow played the ball from the right side of the box to Billy Sharp who placed the ball past Paul Jones to give Saints a 2-0 lead. It looked set to be a long night for the hosts.

Posh began to get a grasp of the game after 20 minutes, earning a series of corners. From a Lee Tomlin corner, Posh had their best chance of the half as Gabriel Zakuani saw his bullet header tipped over the bar by Kelvin Davis.

Southampton were in charge of the game, holding shape and causing Posh trouble with their wing-play. Dean Hammond was superb for the visitors, holding his position in the middle of the pitch and single-handedly winning the midfield battle. A strong presence and the security that he brings to the rest of the side was clear to see. If Posh want to fix the midfield problem then look no further than the example of Hammond when searching in the transfer market.

As the second-half began, there was a faint piece of hope for Posh to get back into the game as a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the box. However, usual set-piece taker Grant McCann was dropped to the bench, so, after a clever routine, it was down to Lee Tomlin to supply the cross which found the head of Shaun Brisley, only for Kelvin Davis to make an easy catch.

Posh had been creating chances from the opening of the half, looking as though they might make a game of it. Those hopes were dashed in the 58th minute as Billy Sharp netted his second of the game. Rickie Lambert held possession of the ball wide right, not looking at all dangerous, and played the ball into the box to Adam Lallana who caught out the entire defence with a first-time pass into the path of Sharp, completely unmarked in front of goal, who coolly slotted past Jones.

Paul Taylor, who had looked lively for Posh upfront, bought a ticket for the lottery and almost won in the 69th minute with a hard shot from a ridiculous angle, saved by Kelvin Davis.

Other than safety being assured, there was another positive for the Posh. Joe Newell, who was replaced by Grant McCann on 73 minutes, put in a very good display despite the result. Seeing the young Joe Newell putting in good performances is extremely encouraging for Posh, he could find himself starting more games next season with the inevitable departure of George Boyd.

The game fizzled out for a large period with the score at 3-0, and with news filtering through that Millwall were winning at Coventry, both sets of fans were celebrating in the stands. Tommy Rowe gave Posh a consolation goal five minutes from time as he bundled the ball over the line after two good saves from Davis, who first denied Rowe and then Taylor.

After some direct play from Posh, looking for a quick second to set-up an exciting end, it finished 3-1. The result didn't matter to the home fans as the news was confirmed that Posh were safe, a good night all round.

Southampton's pending promotion is much deserved and, from the evidence shown, will be a good fit for the Premier League.

Final Score:  Posh 1-3 Southampton

Posh:  Jones, Zakuani, Alcock, Brisley, Rowe, Newell (sub McCann 73min), Frecklington (sub Little 76min), Boyd, Tomlin, Taylor, Barnett.

Unused subs: Lewis, Ball, Nthle.

Southampton:  Davis, Fonte, Cork, Butterfield, Fox, Hammond, Chaplow, Lallana, Hooiveld (sub Martin 62min), Lambert, Sharp (sub Do Prado 87min).

Unused subs: Richardson, Harding, De Ridder.

Attendance:  9,478 (3,438 Southampton fans)
Aaron Gratton

Total articles: 16

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