Venue: ABAX Stadium, London Rod, Peterborough
Attendance: 7,796 (475 County)
Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Notts County 0
Referee: Darren England.
Peterborough United set up a mouth-watering FA Cup trip to Chelsea by beating Notts County 2-0 in this second round replay at the ABAX Stadium. Goals in the opening eight minutes from Gwion Edwards and Paul Taylor proved decisive with County wasting a chance to get back into the game before the break when Posh ‘keeper Luke McGee saved a Jon Stead penalty.
County had their moments going forward, but once Jonathan Forte saw his lob strike the crossbar on the hour mark, Posh were comfortable as they secured a new year trip to Stamford Bridge. Just like the first tie, Posh started in blistering fashion, scoring twice early on before going into cruise mode, a default position that almost led to County pulling a goal back before the break. Edwards bagged his ninth goal of the season with a close range header in the second minute and on eight minutes Paul Taylor smashed home a beauty from 25 yards.
Taylor picked the ball up on halfway, advanced without opposition, and let fly into the top corner of former Posh ‘keeper Scott Loach’s net.
Taylor also had a hand in Edwards’ goal, freeing Shaquile Coulthirst who slipped the ball back for Michael Smith whose precise cross found the Posh top scorer unguarded six yards from goal. It was a fourth goal in four games for the Welsh international hopeful.
But, again in similar fashion to the original tie, Posh felt they had done enough. They dropped the tempo and allowed County to re-group and threaten going forward. Thierry Audel forced Tom Nichols to react smartly on the line following a corner midway through the half.
Forte then forced McGee into a save with his feet with a low drive and on 37 minutes County were awarded a penalty following McGee’s challenge on Stead.
It looked a poor decision at first viewing, although Posh fans watching on television felt McGee had touched Stead before reaching the ball.
It didn’t matter as McGee produced his third penalty save of the season to thwart Stead with Michael Bostwick alert enough to block the follow-up shot. Hayden Hollis promptly skewed the corner over the bar and Posh could reach half-time where, presumably, an irritated manager lay in wait.
Taylor had departed 10 minutes before the break with a muscle injury and was replaced by Brad Inman.
The Stead v McGee battle continued in the second-half when the County striker’s volley was well saved.
County continued to press and Posh continued to sleep despite winning several corners.
One long ball defeated the Posh back line on 56 minutes and Forte was desperately unlucky to see his lob over McGee strike the crossbar. Posh responded with a couple of Tafazolli set piece headers, the first of which was well saved by Loach.
And Posh saw out the rest of the game rather comfortably as County ran out of puff.
Nichols was denied by Loach after doing well to reach a Smith cross and he then sent a header wide after a fine Bostwick cross.
Posh: Luke McGee, Michael Smith, Andrew Hughes, Michael Bostwick, Ryan Tafazolli, Chris Forrester, Gwion Edwards (sub Jerome Binnom-Williams, 88 mins), Leo Da Silva Lopes, Paul Taylor (sub Brad Inman, 35 mins), Tom Nichols, Shaquile Coulthirst (sub Nathan Oduwa, 74 mins).
Unused subs: Adil Nabi, Ricardo Santos, Callum Chettle, Mark Tyler.
Notts County: Scott Loach, Matt Tootle, Hayden Hollis, Richard Duffy, Jordan Richards (sub Adam Campbell, 57 mins), Rob Milsom, Curtis Thompson, Alan Smith (sub Aaron Collins, 74 mins), Thierry Audel, Jonathan Forte, Jon Stead (sub Vadine Oliver, 68 mins).
Unused subs: Adam Collin, Louis Laing, Carl Dickenson, Elliot Hewitt.
Goals: Posh – Gwion Edwards (2 mins), Paul Taylor (8 mins).