Well, at least it wasn't a totally wasted weekend for the Ferguson family. When it comes to losing finals, it's clear that the Scots must be from the Oscar Wilde school of thought. Losing one was unfortunate, so Fergie junior helped ensure it wasn't a rather careless two in the space of 24 hours to help seal a third promotion in four seasons. Watch out dad, your impressive CV might soon be under threat from the young pretender.
While Barcelona were on a different footballing planet to Manchester United, Peterborough brought Huddersfield crashing to earth, courtesy of a first defeat in 28 league and play-off games as Lee Clark's side came up short when it mattered most. "It hurts," the Town manager admitted. "It hurts a lot."
A combination of superstition and not wanting to take the spotlight from his son saw the United manager follow events at home on television rather than in person at Old Trafford, whose wide-open acres eventually took their toll on tired limbs, the Yorkshire club blinking first.
"It's a special achievement for me," Darren Ferguson said. "I'm pleased to do this after my dad's result last night. I've just spoken to him, and it's nice to put a smile back on his face. This has to go down as my best day in football."
Huddersfield paid the price for failing to exploit their hegemony early in the second half, most notably when Danny Ward grazed the bar from an acute angle with goalkeeper Paul Jones rooted to the spot. "That was the key," Ferguson reflected. "They had a right go at us, but we stood firm."
When Huddersfield failed to locate the jugular, their opponents grew in stature to finish with a flourish – three goals in seven minutes applying an unfair sheen to a contest that turned irrevocably when Tommy Rowe applied a deft glancing header to Grant McCann's vicious in-swinging free-kick with 12 minutes left.
Within 60 seconds that advantage was doubled. Craig Mackail-Smith, playing his last game for the club before a summer departure, signed off in perfect style, his low shot finding the bottom corner off Antony Kay. On such margins does promotion often rest, the Scotland forward ending five years at London Road with a potential move to the Premier League on the horizon. "The odds are stacked on him going," Ferguson conceded. "If he goes, he goes with our blessing."
There was nothing fortunate about the third with five minutes left. McCann, whose set-piece accuracy was a thorn in Huddersfield's side, found the top corner with a precision effort for 25-yards.
"It's very tough to take," Clark added. "It came down to a crazy 10 minutes. For half an hour in the second-half we had them on the back foot." On the back foot they may have been but in the end Peterborough emerged victorious to ensure that for more than 13 months now, sides managed by one of the most famous names in football remain unbeaten at Old Trafford.
Huddersfield (4-4-2) Bennett; Hunt, Kay, Clarke, Naysmith; Ward (Cadamerteri 78), Peltier, Arfied (A Lee 81), Kilbane, Roberts; Afobe (Rhodes 81). Substitutes not used Colgan, McCombe, Gudjonsson, Novak.
Peterborough (4-4-2) Jones; Little, Bennett, Zakuani, Basey (C Lee 64); Wesolowski, McCann, Boyd, Rowe (Whelpdale 84); Tomlin (Ball 90), Mackail-Smith. Substitutes not used Langmead, Mendez-Laing, Richardson, Newell.
Referee Steve Tanner (Somerset)
League Two play-off final: Westley salutes 'sensational' Stevenage
Stevenage manager Graham Westley hailed a "sensational achievement" from his side after they gained promotion into the third tier of English football with victory over Torquay in the League Two play-off final at Old Trafford on Saturday. John Mousinho's superb 20-yard strike in the 41st minute ensured last season's Blue Square Premier champions secured a second successive promotion in their first year as a Football League club. "It's a fantastic feeling," Westley said.Reuse content