Lincoln City 1 Peterborough Utd 0: Like father like son, Ferguson discovers problems with Posh

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The Independent Online

Darren Ferguson has sought to play down the attention thrust upon him since he followed his father into management. The newly appointed Peterborough United manager has been stoical about his heritage, at pains to state he is his "own man", and "cannot compete" with the Manchester United legend.

On Saturday, while Sir Alex was stealing triumphant headlines thanks to Wayne Rooney, Fergie Jnr opened his managerial account with a defeat at Sincil Bank, home of promotion rivals Lincoln City; hardly a glorious debut - it was an eighth consecutive loss.

With the pressure of his family ties and an ambitious chairman, impatient for success, weighing upon him, Ferguson cut a calm, steady figure in front of an unusually intense media scrum. Rarely has such a game commanded such attention.

All cameras were trained on the new Posh boss's every move, aching for a hereditary gum-chew or watch-check. But Ferguson, in smart suit and club puffer coat, kept a restrained demeanour. He passed the first half in the stands with club guru Barry Fry, but descended to ground level for the second half to roam his technical area and encourage his players.

George Boyd, Peterborough's new record signing, said he was impressed by the first few days' work with his new manager: "He's very professional. He's got us doing double sessions and the training's much better. It's very sharp, and working a lot on pattern of play, and set-pieces and the little things, like food. It's very professional and disciplined."

Ferguson made his tactical imprint on the team here, setting out with a 3-5-2 formation, shifting right-sided Jason Low to left wing-back and tucking left-winger Peter Gain into centre midfield. Disappointingly, though, Peterborough never mounted a serious threat on goal.

Their first effort on target came in the 55th minute; a tame shot from Aaron MacLean easily gathered by Alan Marriott in goal. Maclean, 23, spent most of his afternoon chasing lost causes and £250,000 signing Boyd, 21, who showed an occasional silky touch, did not have the physical presence to ruffle the Imps defence.

All Lincoln's best chances came from set-pieces and Posh were easily undone for the winner when Mike Stallard headed in at the far post from a lofted corner kick in the 71st minute. Ferguson will need time to turn his protégés into promotion challengers.

"There were a lot of positives," Ferguson said. "In terms of the discipline and shape of the team we were excellent. I've seen enough since arriving on Monday to convince me we'll turn things around.

"I've no problem with the team I've sent out and the squad I've got. I've told them that and they just need to believe in themselves. If they keep giving the effort and the commitment they gave today then we can do it."

Goal: Stallard (71) 1-0.

Lincoln City (4-4-2): Marriott; Beevers, Moses (Morgan, 87), Brown, Mayo; Amoo, Frecklington, Kerr (Green, 82), Hughes; Stallard, Forrester (N'Guessan, 81).

Substitutes not used: Rayner, Mettam.

Peterborough United (3-5-2): Tyler; Morgan, Futcher, Branston (Huke, 77); Newton, Butcher, Hyde (Strachan, 86), Gain (Yeo, 87), Low; Boyd, Mclean.

Substitutes not used: Jalal, Smith.

Referee: G Laws (Tyne & Wear).

Man of the match: Stallard.

Attendance: 6,606.

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