Peterborough Utd 1 QPR 0
By Ben Kosky IT seems harsh to condemn nine men for losing to 11, even against opponents short on both league points and confidence. In fact, the nine men still sporting hooped shirts after the sendings-off of Mikele Leigertwood and Peter Ramage looked mo
By Ben Kosky
IT seems harsh to condemn nine men for losing to 11, even against opponents short on both league points and confidence.
In fact, the nine men still sporting hooped shirts after the sendings-off of Mikele Leigertwood and Peter Ramage looked more likely to salvage a result than they had done with a full complement of players.
Judging by his programme notes, new Peterborough boss Jim Gannon seems to have already conceded his side's relegation is inevitable - but they displayed a lot more appetite for the fray than Rangers.
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There were welcome glimpses of Lee Cook rediscovering his old self but, aside from that, QPR never seriously threatened Joe Lewis's goal until the home team nervously dropped deep to try and protect their lead.
Peterborough began at a frantic pace, with George Boyd pulling the strings behind the front two, and there was a sense of inevitability when they snatched the lead after just nine minutes.
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A sliced clearance from Kaspars Gorkss was picked up by Craig Mackail-Smith and he crossed for Boyd, who was given the space to tee up Aaron Mclean for a sidefooted finish past Carl Ikeme.
The goalkeeper was alert to race out and foil Mackail-Smith soon afterwards when Boyd's pinpoint pass split the Rs defence, while Chris Whelpdale's low effort stung Ikeme's palms.
And the Posh right-back would have been well-placed to make it 2-0 later in the first half had Mackail-Smith spotted him unmarked instead of firing weakly at Ikeme.
At the other end, Marcus Bent had one effort deflected over and attempted another that lacked both power and direction, leaving Lewis with little to do before half-time other than field a tame punt from Leigertwood.
It was Matthew Connolly - the last man to score a Rangers goal - who troubled Lewis early in the second half with a fiery left-foot rocket from long range after Posh had half-cleared Ramage's throw.
But disaster struck on the hour mark as Alejandro Faurlin's pass held up in the mud and Leigertwood, lunging in to reach it, caught Tommy Rowe instead and was immediately shown the red card by referee Danny McDermid.
Peterborough failed to take advantage and kill the game off - but, although QPR looked better when Jay Simpson replaced the unsurprisingly ineffective Tamas Priskin, they were unable to fashion a clear opening.
Their hopes seemed to have vanished eight minutes from time when Ramage, like Leigertwood before him, was deceived by the boggy pitch and mistimed his challenge on Rowe, earning himself a second yellow card.
But the nine men finally put Peterborough under pressure, particularly when five extra minutes were added, and won a free-kick that Faurlin curled over the wall, but into the hands of Lewis.
The keeper then dived to smother the ball as Connolly burst through and saved the follow-up from Bent before substitute Hogan Ephraim speared the ball over - leaving Rangers fans to contemplate what might have been. And not just with regards to this match.