- Points shared at the ABAX Stadium in League One spectacle
- Marcus Maddison and Michael Doughty score second-half penalties
- Both sides continue their mixed starts to the season
- Grant McCann and Luke Williams satisfied with draw
JACK Baldwin’s own goal secured Swindon Town a share of the spoils as they twice pegged Peterborough back to earn a draw at the ABAX Stadium.
Gwoin Edwards nodded in his fourth goal of the season from a contentiously awarded free-kick, to give Posh a half-time lead against the run of play.
The drama ensued after the break as Swindon’s Michael Doughty and Peterborough’s Marcus Maddison both converted hotly-disputed spotkicks.
It left Posh on the verge of back-to-back league wins for the first time this term before defender Baldwin’s unfortunate intervention.
Swindon could have snatched a late winner in the rain but substitute Luke Norris, signed from Gillingham in the summer, screwed his effort wide after wriggling into the box.
The result moves Peterborough up to fourth in League One, while Swindon remain 10th ahead of Saturday’s other matches, as both continue to find consistency and momentum after a mixed start to the campaign.
Both sides undone by philosophy…
As two young coaches looking to establish themselves in the game, Peterborough boss Grant McCann and Swindon head coach Luke Williams are desperate to stamp their own authority on their respective teams in their first full seasons in charge.
But there were signs at the ABAX Stadium that their blueprint to rely on young players, set up to attack and entertain the supporters can contribute to their downfall, particularly in wet conditions when mistakes are more likely to occur.
It was clear from the adventurous start both teams made, building from the back and being brave on the ball to progress through the thirds, the philosophy of the managers – who took their coaching badges together – was being transferred onto the pitch.
The approach of McCann – who labelled his Posh players ‘arrogant’ after an EFL Trophy drubbing by Norwich Under 23s in midweek – was exemplified by him recalling winger Jermaine Anderson as a right-back with Michael Smith away with Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, with the oldest player at the club just 25 years old, Swindon continue to promote the mantra of utilising youth, with Williams a true believer in giving them the opportunity to flourish.
However, for long periods, particularly in the first half, unnecessary risks were being taken and there was little end product with few notable efforts at either goal.
Swindon, fresh from having their game against Bristol Rovers last weekend abandoned, were the more progressive outfit throughout but fell behind to a poorly defended set-piece on 36 minutes.
John Goddard was lively in spurts, the former Woking forward darted away and rifled a shot narrowly wide at the end of a first half the Robins had a firm grip of without making it count in any way, shape or form.
Peterborough’s anxious supporters grew in volume in the second half as their side upped the ante but, as has often been the case where the Posh are concerned, defensive lapses proved their undoing.
Both sides will undoubtedly persist with their bold outlook but it remains to be seen whether it will bring success for two clubs looking to get out of the division in the right direction – and their rookie bosses.
Tale of two penalties…
It was a busy afternoon for referee Tim Robinson, who awarded two penalties in the space of 12 second-half minutes which sparked debate.
Swindon came out with a greater degree of intent after the break and were given the chance to draw level within six minutes.
Bostwick through himself in the way of Doughty’s firm strike from 15 yards with his arm appearing to be raised and the former QPR midfielder made no mistake, beating Posh’s 38-year-old keeper Mark Tyler with ease.
Sean Murray replaced Anton Rodgers – watched by father and Celtic boss Brendan in the stands – for the visitors just before the hour mark for his debut.
But within four minutes, the on-loan Watford winger – signed on deadline day – was penalised for tripping Posh captain Chris Forrester as he darted into the box.
After a slight delay, the referee pointed to the spot despite Swindon’s protestations, with replays suggesting there was sufficient contact for the decision to be justified.
Maddison – named in the Football League’s team of the week this week – also finished clinically to put Peterborough on course for their fourth win in six league games this term.
Doughty catches the eye…
The on-loan QPR midfielder has made a huge impression in the early weeks of the season on his return to the County Ground.
And, with Leagues One and Two taking centre stage during the international break, he showed his qualities again to make the difference when it mattered for Swindon.
Doughty, who was once told to improve his fitness by Chris Ramsay at QPR, looked every inch the archetypal midfield maestro with a leaner build and sharper footballing brain.
Amid a first half low on drama but high on quality, he dictated the tempo for a Robins side in control before his powerful shot drew the Bostwick block and resultant penalty, which he dispatched with confidence.
And Doughty maintained his fine record of being involved in all of Swindon’s six league goals this term when he provided the dangerous cross which forced the unfortunate Baldwin to divert past his own keeper and earn the Robins a point.
If Swindon are to defy expectations to mount another play-off challenge, they will need more man of the match displays like this from Doughty.
Leonardo still has work to do…
With the TV cameras in town, it was the perfect platform for the man on everyone’s lips around Cambridgeshire to show what all the fuss about him is about.
No fewer than 10 Premier League scouting representatives were in the stands watching him in action, not to mention Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood.
But it was a tougher afternoon for Peterborough’s latest bright young prospect Leonardo Da Silva Lopes than perhaps he anticipated.
The 17-year-old occupied a more deeper role than normal and found it difficult to make things happen, often surrendering possession or choosing the wrong option.
Although there were several moments of promise underlining his talent, it served as a gentle reminder for the Portuguese that he won’t find it easy week in week out in the third tier and to stay grounded if a big money move is to come.
Substitutes: Moncur (on for Edwards 60′), Oduwa (on for Nichols 78′).
Not used: McGee (GK), Tafazolli, Chettle, Binnom-Williams, Moore.
Booked: Edwards (44′)
Goals: Edwards (36′), Maddison (63′ pen)
Substitutes: Murray (on for Rodgers 59′), Norris (on for Goddard 70′), Ormonde-Ottewill (on for Brophy 81′).
Not used: Henry (GK), Iandolo, Smith, Hylton.
Booked: Jones (54′)
Goals: Doughty (51′ pen, Baldwin 76′ og)
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex) – 8/10
Assistants: David Avent (Northamptonshire) and Ian Cooper (Kent)
Fourth Official: Robert Jones (Merseyside)
Peterborough United boss Grant McCann
“I think it was a fair result in the end. I was frustrated with the penalty incident [Bostwick handball]. I felt the award of the spot-kick for handball was harsh. But I didn’t think we were clinical enough ourselves. I thought Jermaine Anderson was excellent. He gets a lot of unfair stick, but he was first class at right back.”
Swindon Town head coach Luke Williams:
“I think we looked very comfortable until, of course, we conceded, and then the game changed a lot because Peterborough gained more confidence. We started to chase the game and there was more space but I think to come back twice was excellent and it shows that we’re capable of digging in and overcoming circumstances. I don’t really like to talk to the referee about the decisions but obviously, sometimes they get some wrong and I think, on this occasion, he was wrong, but it’s not easy when they’re there and everything happens quickly, so that’s part and parcel of the game.”