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Old 29-05-2011, 05:00 PM
fred tissue
 
Default Huddersfield 0-3 Peterborough

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It did not turn out quite such a bad weekend for the Ferguson family after all. Less than 24 hours after his father's Manchester United side were chastened by Barcelona, Darren Ferguson basked in the sunshine suddenly bathing Old Trafford and celebrated Peterborough United's promotion to the Championship.

With George Boyd outstanding and Craig Mackail-Smith a constant threat, Ferguson's team were the deserved winners. Huddersfield arrived on the back of a 27-game unbeaten run but they were soon left looking hot and bothered in the face of Peterborough's early attacking onslaught.

Mackail-Smith, Ferguson's key striker, ruffled the defence every time he ran at it and swiftly looked like adding to his 34-goal seasonal haul when, clean through, he shaped to unleash a shot which would surely have beaten Ian Bennett.

Fortunately for Huddersfield, Antony Kay's splendidly timed, last-ditch tackle succeeded in diverting the strike on to a post. If that was a reprieve, the sight of Terry McDermott, Lee Clark's assistant, arguing with officials betrayed his side's collective anxiety.

While Mackail-Smith posed one problem, another was represented in the insidiously elusive shape of George Boyd who revelled in showing off an impressive change of pace while roaming right across the pitch in a floating role between attack and defence. With Lee Tomlin deployed in similar fashion behind Mackail-Smith, Huddersfield appeared horribly out of their tactical comfort zone.

Although Clark had taken the precaution of fielding a five-man midfield, Ferguson's men, perhaps inspired by watching Barcelona on television the previous night, simply delighted in playing through it. Benik Afobe, Huddersfield's 18-year-old striker on loan from Arsenal, was left horribly isolated.

Peterborough's comfort in possession made Clark almost as agitated as McDermott but at least Huddersfield tested Paul Jones's reflexes shortly before half-time, the goalkeeper doing well to repel Gary Roberts's curling free-kick. The fallout from the resultant corner saw Afobe swivelling smartly only to direct a close-range strike wide.

Mackail-Smith nearly conjured a sharp riposte, the striker toe-poking fractionally off target from inside the penalty area after Tomlin and Boyd had once again cut Huddersfield's defence open.

Much had been expected of Clark's Ireland international Kevin Kilbane yet the midfielder, on loan from Hull, initially struggled to make his Premier League experience count, cutting a largely peripheral figure. Moved to a slightly deeper second-half role though Kilbane improved significantly as did Huddersfield. Accordingly the team's hallmark crosses, absent throughout the first period, began blitzing into Peterborough's box while Daniel Ward's swerving shot struck the top of the bar.

Boyd had seen enough. Reviving his earlier imperious form he began undermining the renaissance and won a free-kick inches outside the penalty area after being brought down by Gary Naysmith.

Grant McCann's lovely dead ball was headed home by Tommy Rowe from eight yards and barely had the celebrations faded than Peterborough doubled their lead. Once again Boyd was the creator, playing in Mackail-Smith whose shot took a helpful deflection en route beyond Bennett.

A beautifully weighted, subtly curving McCann free-kick made it three as, appropriately, brilliant sunshine replaced the cloud and rain which had shrouded the ground.
Louise Taylor

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