Darren Ferguson - Happy here, he certainly was not smiling at the final whistle. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
PETERBORUGH UNITED 2 LEEDS UNITED 3
Leeds United’s last trip to London Road was a memorable one as Simon Grayson’s side grabbed a late, late winner to take all three points and send Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson into a post-match rant at the amount of "Fergie Time" added on by the referee Keith Stroud.
With four minutes signalled by the fourth official, Darren O’Dea spectacularly volleyed Leeds back in front in the sixth minute of added time, a fact which Ferguson found difficult to take when interviewed after the match.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, Ferguson was almost tearful when asked how he felt at the end of the game: "There’s no point in having time added on, the referee just plays what he wants. I’m stood by the linesman who says ‘Time’s up’ and he plays two extra minutes."
Peterborough themselves had done well to fight back to level the match at 2-2 in the closing stages after being forced to play with ten men for 53 (plus a little bit extra!) minutes following the dismissal of Lee Tomlin for a two footed lunge on Andy Keogh. In fact Ferguson thought that all three points were there for the taking: "I thought we were going to win it because we’ve had a couple of free kicks" he said before returning to the debate over the stoppage time: "You’ve asked me a question about the referee. He’s played six minutes of injury time. So what’s the point in having it?"
United’s winner came from a well worked free kick, as Adam Clayton, rather than lumping the ball straight into the box from the centre of the field, played the ball out to an unmarked Lloyd Sam on the left hand side. The winger sent in a lovely cross which Darren O’Dea, a la David Platt in Italia 90, swivelled on to volley into the goal of the underside of the bar, Luciano Becchio adding a decisive header into the net to make sure. However Ferguson even found that decision by Mr Stroud difficult to bear: "It’s not a free kick" he whined. "It’s not a foul. It makes me laugh that the FA will say he’s not allowed to say that but what do you want me to say? What can I say to that? The referee was right? Four minutes is four minutes."
Fergie Jr’s post-match rants took away from an excellent game, one that typified the form of Leeds United in the early part of last season. Looking excellent going forward, they were very shaky at the back. Leeds had taken the lead early on, Andy Keogh with a superb strike on the volley from the edge of the box.
Peterborough equalised through Gabriel Zakuani, the centre back getting a header in at the back post from a corner as Paul Rachubka in the Leeds goal found himself in no-man’s land.
The dismissal of Tomlin saw Leeds take the upper hand, with McCormack denied a goal by Paul Jones, as the striker was played in by Mika Vayrynen, his shot half blocked by the legs of the Posh keeper.
Leeds were dominant in the early portion of the second half and thoroughly deserved to retake the lead. Adam Clayton, who had spent a spell on loan at London Road the previous year, fired home a great effort from the edge of the box.
But Leeds sat back on the lead, inviting pressure from the home side, and they succumbed with two minutes left. A free kick from the right hand side evaded two Leeds defenders and Rachubka was slow off his line and beaten to the ball by Mark Little who managed to toe the ball over the line.
Leeds had a lucky escape in the third minute of stoppage time when Darren O’Dea escaped with a yellow card after hauling down a Peterborough attacker around the half way line as he burst clear. The distance from goal probably saved him from dismissal, and the time taken to sort out the booking probably bought him the time to fire in the late winner and bring the tears to Fergie’s eyes.
PETERBOROUGH: Jones; Alcock (Tunnicliffe HT), Bennett, Little, Zakuani; Boyd, Frecklington (Ball 77), McCann, Rowe; Sinclair (Taylor 55), Tomlin
LEEDS: Rachubka; Connolly, Lees, O’Dea, White; Clayton, Howson, Pugh, Vayrynen (Sam 48); Keogh (Becchio 89), McCormack (Nunez 82)