If Carlsberg made Tuesday evenings........
While we were spending a day or two in the West Country equalling our best ever away win our opponents this weekend, along with Blackpool, Oxford, Ipswich and Portsmouth were busy stumbling to defeat against unsung opposition. By ten o'clock we had moved into the play-off places with the luxury of games in hand on our nearest pursuers and a much improved goal difference.
Peterborough succumbing at home to Gillingham was perhaps the most surprising of the evening's defeats. The Posh came into the game on the back of four wins and a draw (with a goal difference of 15-2) and the best home record in League One. Only Hull had managed to win at London Road since Blackpool did it back in November.
In truth, Peterborough are not one of our rivals as it would need us to win our last five games and for them to lose four of theirs for us to overtake them. They and Hull City are deserved League One leaders and odds-on bets for automatic promotion. Their goal difference (Hull +40 and Posh +33) demonstrates how superior they have been in many games this season. However, they weren't particularly superior to us when we went up to their place in January and took an early lead through a Conor Washington penalty. Had it not been for that awful mix up between Oshilaja and Pearce we might well have come away with all three points and there can be no doubt that we will welcome them on Saturday with a far stronger team. Few would dispute that Innis for Oshilaja, Stockley for Bogle and Jaiyesimi for Smyth make us a much more formidable outfit and Nigel Adkins has said that Washington and Maatsen should be available for selection.
In Jonson Clarke-Harris Peterborough boast the League's top goal scorer with 28 but he is still waiting to score his first goal against us. His goals have come this season at the rate of one every 130 minutes which means you have to wait 24 minutes longer than you do for a goal from Chucks Aneke (one every 106). Imagine waiting 24 minutes for a 53 bus on Blackheath in February and you will appreciate how infrequent Clarke-Harris goals actually are.
Portsmouth, Blackpool, Ipswich and Oxford all have home games against lower opposition this Saturday and you would expect them to pick up the points. Our fixture is by far the toughest and nagging doubts still exist about our ability to perform at The Valley as well as we do on the road. Nevertheless we really couldn't be going into this match in a more positive frame of mind and, with our game in hand against Crewe coming up on Tuesday, we should be sitting in a healthy position by the time we travel to Accrington on May 1st.
You can access the stream of the game here: