Streetwise, efficient, organised and confident. Genuine title contenders. The Masters of League One football. Not my words, but for once, those of opposition supporters and respected journos giving us a little bit of credit!
However you dress it up, this was an impressive performance against an in form side who had won seven of their last nine outings.
This potentially tricky assignment was negotiated with ease with Graham orchestrating a tactical masterclass, to stifle some of the divisions so-called most talented attackers. From the very first whistle, it was clear the plan was to not let them settle. We cut out the short ball that their keeper wanted to play and they ended up resorting to the long ball, which played straight into our hands.
We hassled and harried, got in their faces and made it difficult for their ball players to get any kind of foothold in the game. Dawson, Bishop and Smallwood all played their parts over the ninety minutes in nullifying Forrester, Maddison and Da Silva Lopes with the latter, who has been touted as the Posh’s next big sale, removed at half time due to the Iron’s effectiveness.
The first half was up there with some of the best examples of pressing football you will see at this level. Our high tempo, both with and without the ball and impressive fitness as the game progressed proved too much for them to deal with. There were some moments of real quality and crisp passing whilst in possession, whilst we looked comfortable at the back with Wallace marshaling the impressive Goode at the heart of our frugal defence. Coulthirst, who was a thorn in our side in his Torquay days, wasn’t given a sniff.
In midfield, Stephen Dawson epitomised our desire to stop Peterborough playing and was also at the heart of the majority of our good play. He was excellent in possession, determined and energetic and set up Kevin’s goal with a delightful cross. We must now hope that his injury is not too serious as he will be a huge miss, despite Smallwood perhaps putting in his best performance yet when on to deputise.
Bish, as usual, covered every blade of grass. Holmes was a constant threat with his pace and close control and Wiseman impressed both defensively and bombing forward. He looks a different player to the one that was so often criticised last term and more importantly, looks as though he is really enjoying his football again.
You’d be hard pressed to find a player who wouldn’t enjoy being part of this squad.
Saturday will be another challenge and even bigger challenges lay ahead. But this group are certainly not ones to shy away.
Dare I say it? It feels quite a bit like when Nige took over…
We all know how that ended.
Up the Iron!