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A look back at Posh's 2021

Paolo Iantosca looks back at Peterborough United’s 2021 as they continue to fight for survival in the Championship after securing promotion last season.

Where did Posh finish in 2020/21?

Posh secured promotion back to the Championship for the first time in eight years. They finished second in League One after a season of turbulence, frustration, and jubilation.

Ferguson’s men spent much of the season in the play-off places before going head-to-head with Lincoln City for automatic promotion in the closing weeks, which went right to the wire. After drawing to Doncaster Rovers in the week, Posh needed at least a point against Lincoln City to guarantee second-place and promotion, but with half an hour to go, it seemed impossible as The Imps took a three-goal lead.

However, the impossible happened, as Siriki Dembele and Jonson Clarke-Harris narrowed the gap to just one goal before Clarke-Harris converted from six yards out in the 96th minute to secure the point and promotion, and a party in the car park.

2021 Summer Transfer Window Business

Unsurprisingly first through the door was Lincoln City’s Jorge Grant, one of the standout performers in League One during the 2020/21 season after 20 goal involvements in 36 appearances.

Posh also welcomed the return of two fan favourites, starting with former striker Jack Marriott, who joined the club on a free transfer after his release from Derby County. There was no question the signing was a gamble, especially after only making 48 appearances over two years, and it’s yet to pay off.

Defender Josh Knight also returned to the club permanently after spending a season at The Weston Homes Stadium during the 2019/20 campaign in which he slowly became a fans favourite. Posh welcomed highly-touted forwards Joel Randall from Exeter City and Colchester United’s Kwame Poku, while left-back Joe Tomlinson signed for the club from Eastleigh.

They also welcomed Conor Coventry on a season-long loan, while David Cornell joined on a free transfer.

How is the 2021/22 season going so far?

Posh are currently 22nd in the Championship, four points from safety with a game-in-hand on Reading City. If you ask most supporters how the season has gone so far, the majority will say disappointing, and you can’t argue with that. After the summer transfer business, it looked promising that Ferguson’s men could comfortably fight for survival, but it has been quite the opposite.

The home form has been a silver lining with 16 of the 19 points coming from The Weston Homes Stadium, but on the road, it has been dreadful. Ferguson’s men currently have the worst away record in the Championship after only picking up three points so far and could be the catalyst for relegation come May.

Best Performance

The best performance by Posh in 2020 wasn’t a victory but that incredible comeback against Lincoln City in the 2020/21 campaign. As mentioned above, Posh came back from 3-0 down to score a 96th-minute equaliser and secure promotion back to the Championship in unimaginable fashion.

Ferguson’s men had the opportunity to seal second place in League One earlier that week when they welcomed Doncaster Rovers. However, Rovers held Posh to a 2-2 draw and forced them to wait even longer. Posh just needed a point against fellow promotion-chasers Lincoln City at The Weston Homes Stadium, but went 3-0 down in the first half and it remained that way until the 65th minute, and an unforgettable second half that I’m pretty sure no-one has a clear memory about.

Low moment

We have already touched upon this, but the lowest moment of the year must be Posh's current away form. With just one victory in 12 games, Ferguson’s men have the worst record on the road this season and have managed to concede 33 goals (2.75 goals per game) – the highest in the division by 11 goals.

Thankfully, Posh's decent performance at The Weston Homes Stadium has kept them within touching distance of teams above the relegation, although if there is no improvement on the road in 2022 could spell a disappointing end to the season.

Key Player – Siriki Dembele

Oh, Dembele, where would Posh be without him this season? The forward hasn’t excelled in the Championship, but he has arguably been their best player this season and helped them pick up vital points for survival in the first part of the campaign.

Dembele has been involved in seven goals (five goals and two assists) so far this season and is the Posh top goalscorer in all competitions, which tells you the whole story of the campaign so far. Let just hope Darragh MacAnthony can persuade the forward to sign a new contract next month, with Dembele only having six months left on his contract  - he could be a target for the top teams in the Championship.

Breakthrough Talent – Ronnie Edwards

One of the silver linings for Posh this season has been the breakthrough of academy players into the starting eleven, notably Harrison Burrows, who has scored three goals and is slowly cementing a spot in the left-wing back position.

But the award goes to defender Ronnie Edwards, who has caught the eye of some of England’s biggest clubs after some impressive performances in a shaky defence that has shipped the most goals in the Championship this season. The 18-year-old just made two appearances in League One last season but has since featured in 17 games in the second tier, becoming Ferguson’s first name on the teamsheet.

Looking forward to 2022

There’s no other way to look at 2022 as a dogfight. It won’t be pretty and, sometimes, it could be frustrating, but Posh need to secure survival in the Championship, or we are back to where we started in 2014.

Posh failed to play a single fixture over the festive period for a second consecutive season after a covid outbreak in both the Reading and Birmingham City camps. Last season, the short break at the end of the year helped rejuvenate Posh and saw them go on a five-game unbeaten streak.

The January transfer window business could be one of the most important in recent history, with a striker and a centre-back likely to be high on Ferguson's wishlist.

However, no matter what business they do in January, a change of mentality and luck on the road is needed. If that doesn’t change early in the New Year, it’s difficult seeing Posh maintaining their spot in the Championship.