Posh v Preston North End 3rd Rd 9 Jan 2016
Venue: The ABAX Stadium, London Road, Peterborough
Referee: Tony Harrington
Attendance: 7,665 (589 away fans)
Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Preston North End 0
With fans hoping for a glamour tie against one of the big boys the third round draw was somewhat of a disappointment as the Posh drew Championship side Preston North End. Still there was some glamour as the visitors had former England keeper Chris Kirkland in goal making his debut for Preston!
On the back of a good run Posh fans were in expectant mood and after Eoin Doyle missed a golden one on one opportunity to put the visitors in front after just four minutes, Posh’s on-loan starlet Martin Samuelson was allowed space and time to pick his spot and his low 20-yard strike crept into the bottom corner in the seventh minute.
The goal invigorated Westley’s men and they began to dominate the game and the Posh thought they had doubled their lead in the 13th minute as Lee Angol side-footed the ball home but Conor Washington was penalised rightly for a push and the goal was chalked off.
Former England keeper Kirkland made an impressive one-handed save in the 21st minute as the experienced keeper tipped Harry Beautyman’s explosive volley over the bar.
Preston fought back as Joe Garner nodded the ball into the path of Eoin Doyle again and the striker sprinted through on goal but failed to hit the target again as he smashed the ball over the bar from an angle.
In the 31st minute Garner leapt high at the back post and nodded the ball towards goal but a back peddling Alnwick just managed to tip the ball over the bar.
Ricardo Almeida Santos was booked for an aerial challenge on Garner and Josh Brownhill smashed the subsequent 25-yard set-piece over the bar.
Posh midfielder Forrester rifled the ball straight at Kirkland from distance as Preston started to control possession and ended the half strongly with Browne missing an opportunity to level as he sliced Reach’s corner wide from 12-yards out.
The Posh went for the jugular at the start of the second half with Angol racing down the right of the box before squaring the ball to Washington who tried to back heel the ball beyond Kirkland but the keeper saved with some ease.
Jack Baldwin was booked for a bad challenge on Garner and there was a heated exchange between the pair as the striker squared up to the Posh defender.
The lively Conor Washington made it two nil in the 52nd minute as he leapt high and nodded Michael Smith’s cross beyond Chris Kirkland.
Garner headed half-time substitute Gallagher’s corner wide but Peterborough countered minutes later and Washington stung Kirkland’s palms with an electric strike from the left of the box.
Angol appealed for a penalty after he went down under pressure from Huntington but his claim was waved away and Adam Reach was booked for fouling the impressive Samuelson.
The Posh should have added a third goal in the 72nd minute but Ricardo Almeida Santos nodded the ball across goal from three-yards out and was thwarted by Kirkland at the back post as the Posh pumped the ball back into the danger zone.
Paul Gallagher fizzed in a corner from the right and Tom Clarke’s header flew towards the top corner but it was nodded off the line by Michael Smith in the 80th minute.
Tom Clarke was booked for a late one-footed challenge on substitute Marcus Maddison as the clock ticked on and despite a late spell of possession Preston failed to find a way through the Posh defence and the Posh swept into the 4th round of the cup.
The win over a Preston side that Posh Manager Graham Westley had been in charge of for 13 months was a welcome boost to the Posh who were pushing for a place in the League 1 play-offs.
The Posh: Ben Alnwick, Michael Smith, Jack Baldwin, Erhun Oztumer (Marcus Maddison, 71), Ricardo Almeida Santos, Conor Washington, Harry Beautyman, Lee Angol (Souleymane Coulibaly, 71) Chris Forrester (Andrew Fox, 90), Martin Samuelson and Lawrie Wilson.
Unused Subs: Dion Henry, Harry Anderson, Leonardo Da Silva Lopes and Miles Addison.
Preston North End: Chris Kirkland, Tom Clarke, Paul Huntington, Greg Cunningham, Adam Reach, Alan Browne, John Welsh (Paul Gallagher, 46), Marnick Vermijl, Josh Brownhill (Callum Robinson, 56), Joe Garner (Jordan Hugill, 75) and Eoin Doyle.
Unused Subs: Matthew Hudson, Bailey Wright, Neil Kilkenny and Callum Woods.
Bookings: Ricardo Almeida Santos, Jack Baldwin and Chris Forrester (the Posh), Tom Clarke and Adam Reach (Preston North End)
Goal Scorers: The Posh – Martin Samuelson 7 mins and Conor Washington 52 mins