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FT: Peterborough 2 City 1
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City’s London Road jinx continued with defeat despite a first goal in his second spell at the club from Andy Gray.
The Bantams have never won at Peterborough and their 14th visit ended in familiar fashion.
Phil Parkinson had changed the system in an attempt to negate the Posh style.
Matt Taylor made his first league start as one of three centre halves and Mark Yeates also came in from the cold in midfield.
But the plans went awry after 18 minutes as a Peterborough corner was cleared out as far as left back Kgosi Ntlhe, who let fly with a wind-assisted 35-yard blast that dipped into the net.
It was soon 2-0 as Shaun Jeffers fed Britt Assombalonga on the edge of the box and the striker slammed his 17th goal of the season with a quality low finish.
Gary Jones spurned a good chance for an immediate response but Peterborough continued to threaten and Assombalonga should have had a second.
Parkinson went back to the regular 4-4-2 for the second half, replacing Taylor and Garry Thompson with Kyel Reid and Gray – his first appearance of the season.
City had a go as Wells tested Bobby Olejnik and Jones saw another shot smothered after taking too long.
They grabbed a lifeline after 76 minutes when the subs combined and Gray converted his first goal for 15 months.
City pushed for a late equaliser but Posh had chances to put the result beyond doubt with Assombalonga missing an open goal.
In a further blow, Rory McArdle picked up his fifth booking - which rules him out of the Boxing Day duel with Rotherham.
That's it. 2-1 to Peterborough
Now it's Tomlin's turn to shoot wide from great position..
How's it not 3-1? With City committed, Tomlin sets up Assombalonga unmarked eight yards out. McLaughlin blocks his first effort and he slides second wide...
Seventh corner for Posh will eat up time
Darby claims a foul in vain but Jeffers goes on and whips fierce shot across City goal.
Five minutes of stoppages.... Nahki time!
City back to three at the back
Last throw of dice as Bates, who's had a good game, makes way for Connell.
Ball played out to Jones, shot blocked, back out to Doyle.... high and into the grit pyramids.
City win a corner. There's still hope
Four minutes of normal time to play
Very animated City dug-out as away fans make the noise.
"Andy Gray, when he gets the ball he's sure to score" is the chant...
In all the excitement, Peterborough made two subs. Payne for Anderson and Swanson for Jeffers.
Chance for Gray again but blocked by defender. Corner for City
That's Gray's first goal of his second spell as a Bantam. Game On!
City are back in it! Reid drills cross to near post and GRAY turns it in, 2-1
Yeates tries an ambitious cross-shot that sails well off course.
Nice one Rory... #bcafc— @BantamFirth 21 December 2013
Sub Ephraim whips shot over the bar.
Getting a bit feisty out there
Means McArdle is suspended for Rotherham game on Boxing Day.
McArdle foul on Tomlin. That's his fifth booking
Doesn't come to anything
71 minutes gone and City have their first corner!
"Reid will tear you apart" is song as winger continues to pose City's only real threat
@ParkerTandA looks like 1 win in12 sell Wells at your peril Lawn & Rhodes.... Remember Windass sale— @blackmeister 21 December 2013
Loose pass from Wells gives possession back but Bates alive to threat in box.
Bates heads it up in air but danger still there.
And it's another Posh corner for a change
First change for Peterborough. Ephraim on for Newell 66min
Shout for hand ball from home side mainly comes from fans. Ref unmoved
Tomlin jinks way past Darby for snap-shot that McLaughlin parries. Corner number five for Posh
Assombalonga causing problems and wins another Posh corner off McArdle.
Free-kick near corner flag. Yeates' kick cleared by diving header
Reid getting the better of right back Little. Fans on that side urging the winger on
Wells near-post blast batted away by Olejnik. This is better
Meredith strike across goal ends up nearer the corner flag. At least City trying to have a go and fans respond.
Great chance for City. Reid turns Little inside out to tee up Jones but the ball seems to get stuck under skipper's feet and his shot is blocked by Ntlhe.
Brave goalkeeping from McLaughlin who throws himself at feet of Assombalonga after Tomlin plays striker through.
Little spell from City but ends with cross into nobody from Jones.
Bates is there again to clear McCann's kick from six-yard box
Meredith mistake pounced on by Anderson but Bates slides across with crucial block for a corner.
City switched back to 4-4-2 and it's a very open 4-4-2 with Reid on left and Yeates right.
Gray's last goal was in September 2012 for Leeds
We're off again
Gray's first game since Cheltenham in April.
Thompson and Taylor off.
Two subs for City. Reid is one - the other is Andy Gray!
No sign of Reid warming up with the other subs. Suggests he might be on for second half.
Peterborough 2 City 0
Board goes up, two more minutes. Just as the rain starts to swirl
Just don't have enough strength in depth and Jones/Thompson/Doyle aren't doing it at this level. Yeates is like a ghost. Worrying #bcafc— @LukeGBantam 21 December 2013
Taylor catches Jeffers but play waved on as Tomlin strides forward with ball before driving low just wide of post.
Jeffers tries ambitious back flick from Anderson's cross but it is well wide.
Needed somebody to be gambling in there
Yeates takes it to back post where Taylor nods it down into the mix but nobody there to take advantage.
Free-kick level with edge of penalty area.
Yeates has chance on the ball and chips pass over top for Thompson to chase. He's dragged down by Brisley and the centre half is booked
Bit of indecision from Ntlhe cross almost allows Assombalonga to slide in with touch in six-yard box.
City fans trying to lift their team but it's going to be a long way back.
Tomlin fires right-foot drive over the bar and into the grit. One of the watching workmen has to actually do something and retrieve the ball
Chance for City as Wells works down right side and cuts back for Jones. Either side of keeper and it's 2-1 but the shot is straight at Olejnik.
Should have been three as Tomlin flicks ball through for Assombalonga onside behind defence. Dinks shot over McLaughlin as the keeper clatters into him but it drops just wide.
ASSOMBALONGA shows quick feet to turn and shoot into the bottom corner. Another great finish and Peterborough are 2-0 up.
City in real trouble now!
Becoming standard practice for City to go a goal down
Nobody saw that coming, least of all a stunned Jon McLaughlin
1-0 to Peterborough! Tomlin's corner is cleared by Jones but NTLHE thunders it back with interest from 35 yards.
Another corner for Peterborough after a fast break.
Good cross from Yeates but wind catches it and it flies past intended target Meredith. The full back goes down in a comedy heap to the delight of the home crowd.
Olejnik gets in a total mess misjudging header on the edge of his penalty area. Wells is ready to pounce but referee awards Posh keeper a very soft free-kick.
Away fans have had to pay £28 to watch this!
Awkward low cross from Ntlhe gathered safely by McLaughlin at near post.
Blustery wind not helping the flow of the game
The stand behind the goal isn't going to get built when the only two workmen are stood on the mound of earth watching the game....
First shot in anger as Tomlin drags 20-yarder wide.
Wells looking hungry, trying to link up with Thompson.
Nothing much of note so far. City settling into their new shape
Full back has chance to cross but ball runs away from him and opportunity gone
Darby long throw into the Posh box.
For anyone still querying the formation, it is definitely three centre halves
#bcafc Wing Backs?!! Takes me back to the days of Mitchell & Goddard!— @chrislund50 21 December 2013
Always seems to be windy when we play hoof ball teams.... #pufc #bcafc— @SuperPosh7 21 December 2013
Nice skills from Wells and one-two with Jones gives him room to cross. Thompson goes for the acrobatic overhead kick but fails to make contact
Early pressure from Posh and a shout for handball. Corner for the home side
And we're off with City getting the game underway
City will be defending the mound of grit first half.
Here come the two teams, led out by a mascot in a festive White Rabbit costume...
Would of been nice to see Connell start today #bcafc— @coleyy_255 21 December 2013
That's great.... block of schoolkids right in front of the press box
Yeates making his first start for nine weeks. Nice bit of symmetry that his last one was October 19 - same day Taylor played his last 90 minutes of his loan at Colchester.
Interesting team picked by PP today....let's hope it pays off! #bcafc— @Alfie_Tennant 21 December 2013
Am hoping that today's team is a master stroke from Mr Parkinson. Chance for some to shine? What's odds on Gray winner!! #bcafc— @KDCunliffe 21 December 2013
Brave move from Parky #bcafc— @HairyGash 21 December 2013
Peterborough name the same side that beat Peter Taylor's Gillingham last week.
PETERBOROUGH: Olejnik, Little, Brisley, Bostwick, Ntlhe, McCann, Anderson, Newell, Tomlin, Jeffers, Assombalonga. Subs: Swanson, Payne, Mendez-Laing, Knight-Percival, Ephraim, Barnett, Day.
Parkinson has done his homework and says this is a system that has worked well against Peterborough for other clubs. We await with interest...
City make two changes - one of them enforced with James Hanson ruled out with a tight calf.
He is replaced by Mark Yeates, with Garry Thompson reverting to a strike role alongside Nahki Wells.
The other change is for a change of formation as Kyel Reid makes way for defender Matt Taylor, making his first league start for the club.
Phil Parkinson has done his homework on Peterborough's diamond midfield set-up and has switched to a three centre-half system that has worked well against it previously.
Taylor joins Rory McArdle and Matthew Bates at the back - and all have experience of playing a back three before.
Stephen Darby and James Meredith will be the wingbacks with Nathan Doyle sitting deep in midfield to man-mark the dangerous Lee Tomlin in his floating role for Posh.
CITY: McLaughlin, Darby, McArdle, Taylor, Bates, Meredith, Doyle, Jones, Yeates, Wells, Thompson. Subs: Oliver, Reid, Kennedy, Gray, McHugh, Connell, Ripley.
Very interesting team news from City.
Nice mound of grit behind one goal. London Road has that three-sided look like Oldham's Boundary Park
Still waiting on the team sheets here but goalkeepers gone out to warm-up
RT @ParkerTandA: #bcafc players survey London Road http://t.co/nLdj4386L5— @chrisbcfc 21 December 2013
@bcfcthefans Just got back from seeing it, totally awesome, proud to be a City fan, and hope you are proud of yr hard work. Great job #BCAFC— @SueWx 21 December 2013
Good afternoon and welcome from a blustery London Road as City take on fifth-placed Peterborough.
The Bantams have never managed a victory here in 13 previous visits. Could it be 14th lucky in their first trip back since 2007?
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