Thanks to the Highways Agency deciding to close the A14 for repairs at 10pm last night and believing that a detour practically via London was a good idea, it was a late one for us Suffolk based Blades.
Here's a quick summary whilst the game is still reasonably fresh in a very stale mind...
First observation is that the away kit looks great under floodlights. It just baffles me how certain players (cough-McEveley-cough) seem to be unable to pick out players in fluorescent green instead of those in opposition blue sometimes
Anyway, that was one of my few grumbles about last night and may as well start with the negatives. Our defending was a bit harum-scarum at times, and had Peterborough been able to shoot lower than 10m Howard might have had more to do. In all though he only had a few saves to make (one of them a brilliant point blank stop) so that must be OK I guess. To be fair, the defence didn't really settle after the early injury and McEverly especially was much more comfortable where he started at LB. The only other negative is that they insisted on taking chances passing around the back four even though Robertson had realised this ploy and the Posh players were pushing right up against us. Several heart in mouth moments.
A general observation, not a grumble by any means btw, is our acceptance of using the long ball when appropriate. Those yet to see a game will know what I mean straight away. There's nothing wrong with a long ball as long as it's not your only ploy and you have the players to receive them and in Sammon I think we finally do.
The fish (feed him and he WILL score) had another good game. He could be the CF we've been looking for. He's big enough to win challenges, not whippet quick but not lumbering either, and seems to have an eye for goal. He and Sharp kept their defence on their toes all night, especially with Adams and JCR adding to the pressure constantly.
JCR put in a major shift when he came on. He was up and down that wing all night and was still taking them on at the very end. His final ball sometimes left a bit to be desired, often too close to the keeper or too low, but all it takes is Sharp to get to one of those before a defender and it's in the onion bag.
Adams started a bit offish. He seemed determined to score, all by himself, and wasted a few early forays into the Posh box by trying to take players on by hitting it past them only to be blocked by an experienced CB. He will learn though, and his ability to drift in off the wing and run across the defence to get a shot away or make a pass caused them some real issues.
Sharp had a good game and did everything but score, despite carrying a knock for most of the second half. Their defenders kicked, pushed, hit and barged him all night but he just kept battling away and was unlucky not to find the back of the net late on.
Edgar had another solid game and despite one flappy moment Howard was commanding at the back.
Baxter as usual disappeared for large parts of the game, but not necessarily his fault as we did sometimes miss out the centre of midfield, either attacking up the wings or with high balls. On the edge of their box he showed signs of his old self and deserved his goal.
I was worried about Scougs when he went off as he was distraught, so thought it was serious for him. But NA says it's a cut ankle so hopefully should be back soon. On reflection, I'm more worried about Collins. He just seemed to go down, didn't see how it occurred, so I hope it wasn't metatarsal or something similar. He wasn't really limping coming off either so not sure.
Hope I haven't missed anyone. Generally it was a good all round performance. Far from the finished article as there's some panic at the back still, some wasted balls when there's an easier pass on, and the occasional confusion between the front four at times. But this will improve with time as they gel.
Main observation on the night was that this was much more exciting than the crap the other Nigel used to dish up. A team that wants to win and doesn't really care too much if the opposition score in the process.
As for the fans. Another remarkable performance as usual...
In summary - it's looking good and on that performance alone I'm feeling confident. Teams with a bit more quality (e.g. Swindon) will cause us more problems, but the cracks are clear to see and relatively small enough to fill in. If Collins' injury is serious, definitely need a new CB but I'd go for one anyway. With Harris at LB and Brayford RB when they finally return from injury, that'll be a very strong starting 11.