Match Report: Bewildered Ferguson says sorry to Peterborough fans after Norwich City rout
Peterborough 0 Norwich City 3
Take three very good players out of a
Premier League side and three very good players come in. Take the three best
players out of a struggling Championship side, however, and you get a game as
desperately one-sided as this.
It doesn't help, mind you, when the Championship side more or less give up. This match was all over after half an hour, when Robert Snodgrass cut in from the right and turned the ball into the Peterborough penalty area for Elliott Bennett to slide past Peterborough goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik.
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson, who had started with just one striker due to the unavailability of top-scorers Dwight Gayle (cup-tied) and Lee Tomlin (suspended) turned to his bench and sent on a 17-year-old called Jaanai Gordon, who may be promising but has yet to start a first team game.
Thereafter it could not have been more comfortable for Norwich and there was nothing Ferguson, who was also missing defender Gaby Zakuani on international duty, could do about it. It was frustrating given that after losing their first seven League games of the season, Peterborough came into this game having won four of their last five and pulling themselves out of the relegation zone.
Ferguson was livid. "First and foremost I want to apologise to our largest crowd of the season, because we were at home in a Cup game and the players, for whatever reason, turned it into a pre-season game. We just didn't give ourselves a chance. We made one serious tackle, after 65 minutes. There are many words you can use but it was bewildering, really. I don't mind players playing badly on the ball, but Norwich looked like they wanted it more, and that's just unacceptable."
As expected, Norwich manager Chris Hughton had given plenty of his usual first team a break, despite four consecutive defeats in the Premier League making this a more important match to win than it otherwise might have been.
The absence of Grant Holt, nursing a hamstring, Steve Morison and Wes Hoolahan gave Simeon Jackson a chance to impress up front, but it was Peterborough who made the early impression when Joe Newell's low shot was deflected just wide by City defender Ryan Bennett.
Gradually, Norwich began to get on top, and duly went ahead when Snodgrass, increasingly finding space on the right, created the first goal. Ferguson immediately brought on Gordon and switched to 3-5-2 but it made a minimal difference to the flow of the game and five minutes before half-time his side conceded a second. David Fox's ball over the top saw Jackson get ahead of his marker Michael Bostwick and easily beat the exposed but disappointingly stationary Olejnik.
From then on, it was a case of how many. With Fox pulling the strings impressively, it was only a matter of time before Snodgrass, put clear by Elliott Bennett, made it three. The introduction of Grant McCann in midfield gave Peterborough a little extra, but it was 15 minutes before the whistle before they finally made City goalkeeper Declan Rudd make a simple save.
"Our approach is professional from the first minute to the last," said a pleased Hughton afterwards, insisting he would have picked the same side whoever their opponents had been.
"Players like Fox, Jackson, Elliott Bennett and Marc Tierney haven't had the number of games they'd have liked but they train very hard to be ready when the opportunity comes and none of them did themselves any harm today."
Peterborough (4-4-1-1): Olejnik; Little, Alcock (Gordon, 34), Brisley, Knight-Percival (Ajose, h-t); Ferdinand, Bostwick, Newell, Rowe; Boyd; Swanson (McCann, 54).
Norwich (4-4-1-1): Rudd; R Martin, Barnett, R Bennett, Tierney; Snodgrass (Butterfield, 72), Fox, Johnson, Lappin; E Bennett; Jackson
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the match: Snodgrass (Norwich)
Match rating: 4/10
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