Sunday, 26 April 2015

Peterborough United 4 v 3 Crawley Town

Saturday 25th April 2015
London Road, Peterborough
Football League One
Admission: £18.00
Programme: £2.50
Attendance: 6,270
Match Rating: 4

After a diet of exclusively lower non-league football and the odd trip to The Valley during the last few months, today I decided to tick off another of the 92, motivated by being able to stand on one of the few old fashioned covered terraces left in the Football League, knowing that time is ticking to experience it before it is redeveloped in the not too distant future. As someone who always wants to see Sussex clubs do well, there was also the added attraction of watching a crucial game in the survival chances of Crawley staying in the third tier.

London Road is about a 20 minute walk from Peterborough train station - although stopping off in the attractive city centre, under the gaze of the imposing cathedral, is highly recommended. As it stands today, half of the stadium is old and traditional, whilst the other half is modern and fresh looking. The formattractionuntered on approaching the stadium. Behind the goal closest to the main road is the one remaining terrace, with an old fashioned cantelever roof, and as one would expect, a great deal of noise and atmosphere was generated here. The main stand has a similarly old fashioned appearance, also with a cantilever roof, with a few supporting pillars, and wooden seats to the rear. On the opposite there is a much more modern stand, large and with a row of executive boxes between the upper and lower tiers, with good sightlines and it has a fairly interesting design. Behind the other goal is another modern all seater stand, the latest addition to the stadium having replaced a covered terrace about a year ago. It's well worth buying tickets in advance here - not only are tickets £3 cheaper, but no fees are charged for print-at-home or collection tickets, and programmes are 50p cheaper when ordered online. The programme is certainly attractively designed with a feel of quality, but did seem rather light on interesting reading material.

There wasn't much riding on this game for the home side, in 12th place in the division, although in an exceptionally tight, they are level on points with the three teams immediately above them, and just four points behind Rochdale in seventh. They haven't won in their last six games though, picking up just three points in the process. After looking doomed a few weeks ago, Crawley have hauled themselves out of the relegation zone with a crucial home win against fellow relegation rivals Notts County last week and came into this game in 19th place, two places and three points clear of the relegation zone, but with a considerably worse goal difference than three of the four teams below them battling for survival. When today's teams met in October, Peterborough won 1-4 in West Sussex.

On a mainly overcast evening, this was a very strange game in that the final scoreline makes the game look like it was a rip-roaring, action packed game, but in reality this was quite different. Peterborough edged the opening half hour, but it was Crawley who took the lead on 29 minutes. As Josh Simpson's low diagonal shot across goal reached the bye line, Izale McLeod just managed to pull the ball back first time on the line and Marvin Elliott smashed the ball into the roof of the net. They had a couple of chances to extend their lead, but it was Peterborough equalised two minutes before half time. Michael Bostwick fired in a low shot from 30 yards out which hit the bar, and Conor Washington was the first to the rebound to slot the ball home. 

Crawley's survival hopes took a knock on 51 minutes when Peterborough went into the lead with another long range shot by Bostwick from well outside the area this time found the bottom right hand corner of the net. Crawley got back on level terms on 57 minutes. A long throw in was flicked on by McLeod, and Matthias Pogba volleyed the ball into the net from eight yards. Suddenly, Crawley looked like survival was theirs for the taking when they took the lead on 63 minutes. McLeod claimed a hat-trick of assists, laying the ball into the path of Simpson, who drilled the ball in from a slight angle. As the clock ticked by, it was looking more and more likely that Crawley would hold on for that vital win that would surely guarantee them League One football, but almost out of nothing, Peterborough scored an equaliser, Bostwick again on the scoresheet after knocking the ball down and managed to hit the ball on the half volley from the edge of the penalty area and the ball went in off the far post. Disappointing as conceding an equaliser was, a point could have still proved crucial in their battle for survival, but things got even worse as normal time drew to a close. Marcus Maddison showed good work before floating the ball to the back post, Jonathan Edwards headed the ball against the post, and the ball fell to Washington slammed the ball home from six yards. Peterborough could have extended their lead during added on time, but they will be pleased to have finished off their home campaign with a win. As for Crawley, after looking like they had all but sealed survival five minutes from time, they finished this game back in the relegation zone after two teams below them, Crewe and Notts County, both won, meaning that Crawley most likely will need to win their final game at home to Coventry 

Video highlights of the goals can be found here

No comments: