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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

2-2
27 April 2021 Venue Weston Homes Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Peterborough United vs Rovers

27 April 2021

Rovers are looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to face Peterborough United on Tuesday night.

Andy Butler’s side were narrowly beaten by Fleetwood Town in their last league outing. 

 

Peterborough’s recent form 

Posh have lost just one of their past six league games stretching back to a 1-0 win at Fleetwood Town on April 2. They finished the easter weekend with a 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland, before a comfortable 3-0 victory at Swindon Town five days later. 

They kept up their promotion charge with a 3-1 win against Northampton Town, before their only defeat of late came against Gillingham. They got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at play-off chasing Charlton Athletic last time out, leaving them on the verge of promotion to the second tier. 

 

The man in charge 

Former Rovers boss Darren Ferguson returned for a third spell as Peterborough United manager in January 2019, replacing Steve Evans in the role. In his first period in charge, Ferguson guided the club to back-to-back promotions, before leaving the club in November 2009 when they were in the Sky Bet Championship. 

He returned to London Road in January 2011 after a short spell at Preston North End, and wasted no time in adding another promotion to his CV with a play-off victory over Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford. The Posh had two seasons back in the second tier before relegation back to Sky Bet League One. Ferguson left in February 2015 and joined Rovers eight months later. He couldn’t prevent the club from being relegated in his first season, but did win promotion back to the third tier a year later. He helped the club consolidate themselves before leaving at the end of the 2017/18 campaign. 

 

Ones to watch 

Siriki Dembele 

After making a name for himself in the EFL at Grimsby Town, Dembele joined Peterborough in the summer of 2018 for an undisclosed fee. A lively winger, the 24-year-old scored seven goals in his first season at London Road, and backed that up with six last time around. 

He has stepped up to the mark this season and played a key role in the club pushing for automatic promotion, scoring 12 goals in 44 appearances to make himself an integral part of the attacking setup.  

 

Sammie Szmodics 

A product of the Colchester United Academy, Szmodics played more than 160 times for his hometown club before signing for Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City on a free transfer in the summer of 2019. He made just four appearances for the Robins though before joining Peterborough on loan in January 2020, but for the season to be cut short due to Covid-19. He made an impact in that time though, scoring four goals in 10 league games, which persuaded Posh to make the move permanent in September. 

He has proved to be a brilliant signing for Darren Ferguson’s side, scoring 15 goals in 44 appearances so far this season. 

 

Jonson Clarke-Harris 

After spending time with Coventry City and Peterborough as a youngster, Clarke-Harris signed for Oldham Athletic in 2013 and impressed enough in his sole season at Boundary Park to earn a move to Rotherham United. The striker spent time on loan with MK Dons, Rovers and Coventry during his time at the New York Stadium, before returning to Coventry on a permanent deal in 2018. Once again though his stay with the Sky Blues was short lived, as he signed for Bristol Rovers six months later. 

He seemed to find a home at the Memorial Ground, and scored 24 league goals in 38 appearances, which persuaded Peterborough to spend a significant seven-figure sum on him last summer to replace the outgoing Ivan Toney. Clarke-Harris has proved to be worth every penny, with 31 goals to his name in all competitions, he has played a crucial role in helping Posh close in on automatic promotion. 

 

Last time out 

Rovers beat Peterborough 3-0 at London Road when the two sides last met on Boxing Day 2019. Two goals from Kieran Sadlier against his former club and a late strike from Ben Whiteman sealed all three points. 

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Match Reports

REPORT | Peterborough United 2 Rovers 2

27 April 2021

A game of two halves at the Weston Homes Stadium saw Rovers come from two goals down against a Peterborough United side who needed to equal or better Lincoln City’s result to ensure Championship football next season.

Things had looked bad for Andy Butler’s men when Joe Ward gave Posh the lead inside 10 minutes and frankly ominous when Sammie Szmodics doubled the lead just 15 minutes later but towards the end of the first half, Rovers burst into action with an inspired Jason Lokilo performance helping the side get level.

It was his ball which set up Fejiri Okenabirhie for Rovers opener not long before half time and it was his sublime run down the right and cut back which found substitute Taylor Richards unmarked in the box to snatch an equaliser.

Rovers rode their luck at times with Ward finding the woodwork on two occasions and Louis Jones denying him from a free kick and Mark Beevers from close range, but had chances to win it themselves with Lokilo and Richards forced a save from Josef Bursik.

It was another challenging start to the week for Andy Butler with a Rovers player testing positive and a further three being forced to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines. The manager was also without James Coppinger who missed out through illness but not COVID-19 related.

There were three changes with Jason Lokilo, Branden Horton and Omar Bogle coming into the starting XI. Bogle’s return did spark a change of formation with him partnering Fejiri Okenabirhie up front in a 4-4-2 while Reece James moved into midfield.

Posh went into the game needing to equal Lincoln City’s result in order to guarantee Championship football next season and they registered the first shot on target when Joe Ward’s effort from the edge of the box required a save from Louis Jones.

Ward followed up with three shots all blocked by Butler, but it only took ten minutes for him to open the scoring. He picked the ball up unmarked at the edge of the box and finished smartly inside the far post.

There was an almost immediate response from Rovers – Lokilo’s delivery from a corner kick found Butler at the back post but his header was cleared off the line by some Mark Beevers acrobatics.

Peterborough’s leading striker Jonson Clarke-Harris’ registered a few shots around quarter of an hour mark – the second of these looked destined for the back of the net but was denied by a Tom Anderson header. And the prolific goal scorer probably should have had an assist when he benefitted from a loose touch by Josh Sims and was able to drive at the Rovers’ defence - his ball found Ward who fired an effort off target.

Sammie Szmodics got a second for Posh on the 24th minute after Rovers played themselves into all sorts of trouble at the back. That goal sparked a series of fireworks and car horns being set off as the Peterborough fans starting the promotion party in the West Homes Stadium carpark.

On the pitch, however, the game slowed down with some of the home side’s tenacity fading out of the game a little and their chances were lashed off target while Rovers – whose chances were undoubtedly few and far between – were on target.

Lokilo picked up a loose clearance by the Peterborough defence – his run across the top of the box was a determined one, his effort was hit with venom and Dan Butler’s block left him winded. The Belgian winger was heavily involved minutes later when Rovers did get the goal – a fantastic assist with the outside of his foot set up Rovers’ top striker Okenabirhie who finished really well.

After scoring, Rovers started to show some creativity on the break and got forward well in numbers, but despite an improved end to the half – it was still Posh who went closest, rattling the crossbar direct from a free-kick deep in stoppage time.

Rovers started quicker in the second half and, once again, it was Lokilo – who was Rovers’ brightest spark all game – at the heart of the best of the play for the men in red and white. He looked to have won a penalty early when he hit the floor under the challenge of Dan Butler in the penalty box, but referee Scott Oldham disagreed and booked the winger for simulation and it was more direct play from him to set up a chance for Taylor Richards – who replaced Sims at half-time. The Brighton & Hove Albion loanee fired narrowly wide of the far post.

The Lokilo-Richards pairing combined again soon after – Lokilo got the better of Posh let-back Dan Butler and drove down the by-line, cut the ball back to Richards who finished really well from close range to draw Rovers level.

The Belgian then had a big chance of his own – Matt Smith’s sublime ball dropped into the path of the winger who struck a fierce effort on the half-volley only to be denied by former Rovers’ loanee Josef Bursik who had been brought to London Road via an emergency loan.

At the other end, Szmodics scooped the ball over the bar from close range after being played the ball by Clarke-Harris. The most surprising part of that, perhaps, being that the man with more than 30 goals this season didn’t choose to shoot when he the ball reached him.

Dan Butler’s strike from close hit Joe Wright – Posh thought it hit him in the arm, referee Oldham disagreed before both goalkeepers pulled off brilliant saves to keep the score level. Jones’ save to deny Beevers from close-range was a stunning reaction stop, while Richards fierce strike was stopped by Bursik before Tyreece John-Jules scooped the follow up over the bar.

Jones made another fantastic save to deny Ward from a free-kick who had been denied twice by the woodwork to ensure Rovers would take a point.

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