REPORT | Peterborough 1-4 Southend
by Scott Hatley
Southend further cemented their place inside the play-off places with a superb 4-1 win away at play-off rivals Peterborough United.
Just three points separated the two sides prior to kick off but Southend were dominant throughout and took the lead just before the interval through Jason Demetriou’s flick header.
Question marks were raised over whether the defender’s header had crossed the line, but there was no doubting Southend’s two quick-fire goals which sealed the points.
Marc-Antoine Fortune broke clear of the Peterborough back line to slot the ball beyond Luke McGee and just three minutes later the Blues were home and dry as Anthony Wordsworth made it three.
Peterborough grabbed a goal late on through Tom Nichols but it wasn’t to matter as Southend scored a fourth in injury time through Michael Timlin, sending Southend up to fifth in the table.
The win was exactly what Phil Brown would have asked for after disappointingly dropping two points at home to Northampton Town at the weekend, and the Blues made just the one change from that draw with Ryan Inniss coming in for the injured Anthon Ferdinand.
Since being knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup by Chelsea in January Peterborough had only won three of their last nine league games and came into this one off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Walsall.
Despite their inconsistent form, the Posh were only three points off the play-off places and almost opened the scoring when Junior Morias’ shot was well blocked by Adam Thompson in the area.
After the early scare, Southend created a few chances of their own with Simon Cox heading the ball straight at Luke McGee and Anthony Wordsworth whizzing one just over the bar from distance.
The Blues’ best chance came midway through the half when Wordsworth’s in-swinging free kick found Ryan Leonard at the far post, but the midfielder wasn’t able to bundle the ball over the line.
Peterborough had been second best in the first half but came back strongly with Marcus Maddison having a curling effort go wide before zipping one into the arms of Ted Smith with a low drive.
With half-time looming Ryan Inniss smashed the ball against the frame of the goal, with the ball bouncing off the post and onto the back of McGee before being hooked away.
And it looked like that would be the closest anyone would come to scoring before the break, until the Blues broke the deadlock in first half injury time through Jason Demetriou.
Marc-Antoine Fortune created enough space inside the area for a shot which deflected towards Demetriou. His slight flick-on diverted the ball onto the foot of the post and across the line, with the linesman furiously waving his flag to indicate a goal.
The home side were incensed at the decision as they didn’t feel that the whole ball had crossed the line for Demetriou’s goal and their mood would not have improved in the second half as Southend scored two quick-fire goals to all but seal the points.
Less than two minutes after Wordsworth had burst through the Boro’ defence and saw his shot blocked wide for a corner, Fortune also broke through the Peterborough back line with more devastating effect.
Unlike his midfield colleague the striker fought off the attention of a Posh defender and slotted the ball beyond McGee to double Southend’s lead.
And just three minutes later the Blues had their third as Peterborough inexplicably failed to clear their lines, allowing Demetriou to steal in and lay the ball back for Wordsworth to smash home from just inside the area, cueing howls of derision from the home fans.
With almost half an hour still to play, Phil Brown’s side couldn’t rest on their laurels and the home side almost grabbed a goal back when Paul Taylor’s effort was cleared off the line by Ryan Leonard.
Southend should have put even more daylight between themselves and the Posh as Demetriou teed up substitute Theo Robinson for a one-on-one chance but he couldn’t beat the legs of McGee.
Grant McCann’s side did manage to nick a goal with just over 10 minutes to go after sub Tom Nichols was slide through and calmly beat Smith, clipping the inside of the post on the way through.
The goal appeared to have put the wind up the home side and Smith was needed to make two vital saves to prevent Peterborough grabbing a second which could have made for a nervy finish.
First the young goalkeeper had to parry away a swerving Maddison free kick before the Blues stopper got down brilliantly to tip a Taylor strike onto the crossbar.
The saves came at a vital moment and Southend wrapped up the points with a fourth in injury time.
Nile Ranger muscled his way to the by-line and laid the ball back to Michael Timlin who hit the back of the net, marking the birth of his baby boy who’d been born just the day before.
Peterborough XI | McGee, Smith, Hughes, Bostwick, Tafazolli, Baldwin (C), Maddison, Mackail-Smith, Lopes, Samuelson (Taylor 65’), Morias (Nichols 59’). Subs Not Used: Tyler, Angol, Ball, Inman, Binnom-Williams
Blues XI | Smith, Coker, Wordsworth, Thompson, Timlin, Cox (Ranger 73’), Fortune (O’Neill 84’), McGlashan (Robinson 66’), Leonard (C), Demetriou, Inniss. Subs Not Used: Bexon, White, O’Neill, Amos, Nouble
Referee: G Eltingham
Assistants: S Hudson & K Howick
Fourth Official: K Stroud
Peterborough United: Tom Nichols 80’
Southend United: Jason Demetriou 45+1’, Marc-Antoine Fortune 61’, Anthony Wordsworth 64’, Michael Timlin 90+2’
Southend United: Simon Cox 25’