What price another Ferguson family double celebration? While Sir Alex's Manchester United are on course to retain their Premier League title, son Darren is poised to lead Peterborough United to a second successive promotion. After this resounding victory here yesterday, Ferguson Jnr might even start thinking about the League One championship as well.
Leicester City have been the division's outstanding team and remain four points clear at the top, but Nigel Pearson's side, previously unbeaten in 23 League matches, suffered their second defeat in the last three weeks.
Peterborough, in contrast, have now won six matches in succession, their continuing improvement underlined by the difference between yesterday's match and the crushing 4-0 defeat they suffered at the Walkers Stadium three months ago. Ferguson's men took command in the second half and were worthy winners after an exhilarating display of attacking football.
The big-match tension was evident in a frenzied opening half. A swirling wind, which brought bursts of rain, hail and snow, made controlling the ball difficult enough, without the speed with which both teams set about their task. Defences were comfortably in command and it was 22 minutes before the first shot at goal, Leicester's Lloyd Dyer missing the target from 12 yards.
The first goal, which changed the course of the match, provided a moment of rare quality. When Leicester failed to clear a Paul Coutts corner, Charlie Lee was quick to attack from the edge of the penalty area. After darting past two men the defender curled a perfectly judged shot into the far corner of the net from 12 yards.
Lee performed just as admirably at the other end. Matty Fryatt, with 28 goals, is one of the leading scorers in the country, but Lee and Gabriel Zakuani allowed the striker barely a sniff at goal.
Leicester, prompted by Matt Oakley's intelligent passing, tried to stay faithful to their footballing principles, but were overwhelmed by the sheer passion of Peterborough's play.
Although neither got on the scoresheet this time, the quality of Aaron McLean and Craig Mackail-Smith was particularly evident. The Peterborough strikers, who have scored 92 goals between them in the last two seasons, combined clever ball skills with mobility and non-stop running.
Mackail-Smith played a key part in the second goal after 79 minutes. Having shown superb control to bring down a high ball out on the left, the striker jinked infield before finding Chris Whelpdale with a fine pass across the penalty area. The midfielder gave Tony Warner no chance with a firmly struck shot into the far corner. The only downside to Ferguson's day came when he was sent away from the technical area – despite the support of Pearson, who insisted his opposite number had done nothing wrong – after giving his opinion once too often to the assistant referee.
While Pearson admitted that Peterborough were the better side on the day, Ferguson agreed it was "a big win". "I thought we deserved it," he said. "We were absolutely outstanding."Reuse content