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Paolo's pointers: Five talking points from the Lincoln City draw

It was a hard-fought point for Peterborough United on their return to League One action against table-toppers Lincoln City.  
What were the main talking points from Posh's 1-1 draw against Lincoln

After 25 days without any competitive football, Darren Ferguson’s men had to work hard for the point after being reduced to 10-men. 

Posh started the game brightly, controlling possession, and deservedly took the lead in 10th minute after Jonson Clarke-Harris' effort was turned in by Timothy Eyoma. 

However, the League One leaders responded in the second half to draw level through Anthony Scully after Mark Beevers failed to clear the ball. In the 70th minute, Posh were reduced to 10-men after Nathan Thompson's rising arm blocked Jorge Grant’s effort and Lincoln City were awarded a penalty, but Grant couldn’t capitalise from six yards out, sending his effort wide of the post. 

The home side continued to pile the pressure on Posh, with Christy Pym required to make a few good saves, but Ferguson’s men managed to hang on to a vital point at the LNER Stadium, taking them to 5th in the table. 

Here are my talking points from 1-1 draw:

What break? 

Darren Ferguson spoke earlier this week about not knowing what to expect from his Posh side after 25 days without competitive football, but it was a promising start from the visitors, energy and possession-wise.

Posh took a deserving lead within ten minutes after some terrific closing down by Nathan Thompson to nick the ball back before sliding across to Clarke-Harris, whose effort was deflected in by Timothy Eyoma.

Lincoln City began to grow into the game as the first half progressed, but Posh looked strong defensively and energetic going forward, despite the worry of rustiness.

However, Ferguson would have been disappointed about the start to the second half, after Lincoln City drew level within three minutes, dismissing a terrific first 45 minutes from Posh. Then, the rustiness started to creep into Posh players in the second half as they hang onto a point on their return. 

Lucky, lucky Peterborough 

Lincoln City took control of the game after grabbing an early equaliser in the second half, with Christy Pym called into action on a few occasions to prevent the home side taking the lead.

However, matters got worse for Posh, who went down to 10-men – for a second consecutive season against Lincoln – after Grant’s shot struck Thompson's arm inside the area, giving away a penalty. Luckily for Posh, Grant put his effort wide of the post and gave Ferguson’s men a lifeline to either steal the three points, or hang onto a point.

A repeat of last season’s encounter at LNER Stadium was looking inevitable after Lincoln City wasted a handful of chances, but Posh managed to hang on to a vital point against table-toppers. 

The return of Sammie Szmodics 

Sammie Szmodics returned to Peterborough United’s starting eleven on Saturday afternoon after being dropped in the last three League One fixtures. 

Szmodics was influential throughout the first half, looking to get past defenders, showing physicality and was willing to do the defensive work by stopping Lincoln City’s quick transition on a few occasions.

Unfortunately, Szmodics struggled in the second half as Lincoln City took control of the game and was substituted in the 70th minute, with Ferguson reshuffling his side after going down to 10-men. The Posh boss would have been pleased about Szmodic’s cameo on returning to starting eleven; he just needs to build his confidence up in the coming weeks. 

Welcoming back Ricky Jade-Jones  

Ferguson would have found a few positives on Posh’s return to competitive football; however, the considerable favourite was likely seeing Ricky Jade-Jones back in the colour blue.

The teenage striker suffered an injury in the pre-season friendly against Coventry City and hasn't featured in any competitive games in the 2020/21 season.

Jade-Jones returned to the matchday squad this afternoon, starting on the bench and was substituted on in the 70th minute. The 18-year-old showed plenty of promise, using his power and speed to get past defenders comfortably, despite being on the sidelines for around four months.

As the promotion race begins to heat up, Jade-Jones could become a real asset for Posh and Ferguson. 

A huge year for Posh 

Today’s stalemate against rivals, Lincoln City, was Posh's first game of 2021 and Ferguson will be pleased about starting the new year with a point against fellow promotion hopefuls.

Posh chairmen haven't shied away from outlining their expectations from each season, with promotion high on their agenda.

Supporters will be hoping 2021 is eventually the year Posh can return to England’s second division. Based on today’s performance, though, League One’s promotion will be a close battle between 10 teams.