Peterborough United 0-4 Middlesbrough: The Warmdown
Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Middlesbrough laid down an emphatic marker to the rest of the playoff chasers, with a commanding 0-4 win at Peterborough United on Saturday.

It was a result that had implications at both ends of the table, with the result combined with others from around the SkyBet Championship seeing Boro rise to fifth in the table, whilst cementing The Posh to the foot of the division.

Marcus Tavernier’s first half curler set Chris Wilder’s men on their way despite the hosts having a fair share of chances themselves, before tap ins from Folarin Balogun and substitute Josh Coburn and a wonderfully taken solo goal from Duncan Watmore sealed the game in the second period.

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  • Boro playing the Wilder way

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest Middlesbrough would be closer to the top two had former Sheffield United boss Wilder been in charge from the start of the season.

They executed a well thought out gameplan for the majority of the game, even if they did switch off for ten minutes before the end of the opening 45 minutes.

Boro’s positive forward play was rewarded with chance after chance that, on another day, would have been tucked away and a double-digit score-line wouldn’t have looked incorrect.

The fluidity in the midfield was astounding to see, any one in the five across the middle could pop up on the wing to put the ball into the box, or be on the receiving end of one of these crosses.

Matt Crooks was heavily involved, especially in the first half, and had a couple of sighters on goal.

Something trademark about Wilder’s Blades team was the overlapping centre backs, and Anfernee Dijksteel and Paddy McNair have taken up that role in this Boro side.

They overloaded The Posh on either flank and, with tricky feet matched against some lazy defending, were able to get countless crosses into the box.

Every outfield player chased for every ball, including Aaron Connolly who worked his socks off across the front line and would have had a couple of goal contributions on another day.

And a brief mention to the defence, who Wilder claimed were “fabulous”, were resolute and didn’t give away any serious chances.

It’s high energy, extremely fluid, tough to break down, and very effective – all of which make a successful Championship side.

  • Doomed Peterborough not going to give up but need to start preparing for the drop

When Grant McCann took over in February, a slither of optimism returned at London Road and there was some hope that Posh could avoid slipping back into SkyBet League One.

However now, after one win in eight games under the former club captain, relegation seems a certainty, despite the victory at Queen’s Park Rangers before the International Break.

Peterborough started at pace, having the opening chance through a somewhat rejuvenated Jonson Clarke-Harris who was inexplicably replaced at half-time despite looking like the best player in a blue shirt.

And, when Boro opened the scoring midway through the first half, Posh did have a solid 10 minute spell where they could and probably should have equalised.

But, the second half was a completely different story.

Middlesbrough restricted Peterborough to pot shots and half chances, and controlled the game throughout.

Posh had no answer to the fast passing game and Middlesbrough’s substitutions quickened the pace even more and benefitted from some tired play in the host’s midfield.

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This was consistent with what has happened over the previous games, something that has cost Posh points under either manager.

It might be time to start bleeding in the next generation of Peterborough players, and get them ready for next season’s attempt at bouncing straight back up.

A tepid performance summed up the season so far for basement boys Peterborough, while Middlesbrough showed their credentials ahead of the run-in.

Next up for Posh is Luton Town at home on Tuesday night, while Boro host runaway leaders Fulham.

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