Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Kidderminster Harriers 3
Referee: Andy D’Urso
Peterborough United delivered the most embarrassing display of Darren Ferguson’s managerial reign as they were deservedly dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league Kidderminster at London Road.
The visitors took advantage of a witless Posh display, Ferguson’s team played poorly, but more disturbingly they showed little fight and precious little passion.
Posh led at half-time through a rather fortunate goal credited to Tommy Rowe, but crumbled after the break, conceding two goals in three minutes soon after the re-start and even an equaliser from the penalty spot from Britt Assombalonga 20 minutes from time, was immediately followed by a superb winning goal from Kidderminster winger Joe Lolley, a player Posh had tried to sign earlier in the month.
The defeat was hard to stomach, but the manner of it should cause serious concern in the boardroom as well as the dressing room. Even in the final 15 minutes, when there was a game to save and a humiliation to avoid, there was an obsession with passing the ball backwards and sidewards at a snail’s pace – if they were the tactics designed by the manager, he should be taking a long, hard look at himself tonight.
Too many Posh players hid, too many seemed to shirk tackles and virtually all of them lacked the basic skills to trouble spirited and committed opponents. This was a 90-minute example of why Lee Tomlin’s constant ill-discipline is tolerated so readily.
Without Tomlin there is no creativity, no spark and no vision and as a result Kidderminster saw the game out frighteningly easily. They packed their defence and invited Posh to cross the ball, something they did with appalling inaccuracy.
Posh had the bonus of scoring first in the 24th minute when Danny Kearns’ cross defeated Kidderminster ‘keeper Daniel Lewis and hit the far post where Rowe was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.
Posh had seen a lot of the ball until then, but created very little. Indeed Kidderminster should have scored first when slicing through the Posh defence, but Amari Morgan-Smith sent his shot straight at Bobby Olejnik.
Posh were comfortable for the rest of the half, but they lost Rowe to injury before the break and after it they were a complete and utter shambles.
A sweeping move and a superb left-wing cross from Danny Jackman that Michael Gash – a man who was raised in the Peterborough area – headed home brilliantly drew the visitors level on 49 minutes and three minutes later they were in front after Lolley’s pace was too much for three defenders, although Jack Byrne’s shot looked like it should have been saved by Olejnik.
The Posh response was hopeless. They persisted in a slow-tempo, short, square passing game that never looked likely to reap rewards. Whenever the ball was switched wide a terrible cross would be delivered.
Substitute Grant McCann did swing in a couple of excellent corners, but no-one in blue was brave enough to attack them. Kidderminster remained disciplined, won every tackle that mattered, and most of them that didn’t, and rarely looked like conceding.
A fine forward pass from substitute Danny Swanson finally unlocked the visiting defence 20 minutes from time and Assombalonga was felled in the penalty area by Lee Vaughan, illegally and rather unnecessarily.
Assombalonga picked himself up to score from the spot, but any thoughts that Posh would finish strongly and win that fourth round tie at Sunderland were dispelled within two minutes.
Kidderminster won a corner, it was partially cleared, but Lolley, by far and away the best attacking player on the field tonight, was given all the time he required to smash the ball home from 25 yards.
There was still time for Posh to respond, but they showed a reluctance to commit men or the ball forward at any speed. They created just one opportunity when Swanson’s left-wing cross found Shaun Jeffers six yards from goal, but he couldn’t keep his header down.
Four minutes of added time came and went before Posh accepted their defeat. It was accepted far too meekly as far as the fans were concerned.
Posh: Bobby Olejnik, Mark Little, Shaun Brisley, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Danny Kearns (Grant McCann 54), Jack Payne, Jermaine Anderson (Danny Swanson 54), Tommy Rowe (Joe Newell 38), Shaun Jeffers, Britt Assombalonga.
Unused subs: Joe Day, Kgosi Ntlhe, Hogan Ephraim and Charlie Coulson,
Kidderminster Harriers: Daniel Lewis, Lee Vaughan, Danny Jackman, Mickey Demetriou, Josh Gowling, Lee Fowler, Kyle Storer, Jack Byrne, Joe Lolley (Jack Dyer 88), Amari Morgan-Smith (Marvin Johnson 57), Michael Gash.
Unused subs: Nathan Vaughan, Cheyenne Dunkley, Anthony Malborn, Dior Angus and Josh Riis.
Goal Scorers: The Posh – Tommy Rowe (24 mins) and Britt Assombalonga (70 mins, pen). Kidderminster – Michael Gash (49 mins), Jack Byrne (52 mins) and Joe Lolley (72 mins).
Bookings: Nathan Knight-Percival (Posh), Amari Morgan-Smith (Kidderminster Harriers).