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Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson insists he has never been more determined to win a promotion.
Ferguson endured a tough 47th birthday as Posh lost their grip on the final League One play-off place following a 3-1 defeat at his former club Doncaster today (February 9).
Posh led early through a superb George Cooper goal, but suffered a sending-off in the first-half for the second game in a row as left-back Tyler Denton was dismissed. Doncaster took advantage by scoring three goals in the second-half to overtake Posh into sixth place. They are a point ahead of Posh with two games in hand, the first is at home to Southend on Tuesday (February 12).
Ferguson wasn’t happy with referee Carl Boyeson’s performance and he was also bemoaning the lack of luck Posh have suffered since he came back to the club after a second defeat in three matches under his care.
Ferguson revealed winger Siriki Dembele will be out for 10 weeks because of a knee ligament injury. Joe Ward left today’s game on crutches and there are fears he could have broken his ankle.
“For 40 minutes we were very good,” Ferguson stated. “We scored a great goal and our gameplan was working well. Cooper, Maddison and Toney were causing them no end of problems. We didn’t have as much possession as I would have wanted, but they weren’t hurting us. We could have been 3-0 up as we worried them from set pieces as well.
“But the game changed in the final five minutes of the first half with a couple of decisions from a referee who has recent history with our club.
“Why on earth the referee has booked Tyler for time wasting after 30 minutes I have no idea. He’d actually warned one of our players after 15 minutes.
“I feel for Tyler. His second yellow was obvious, but it should have been his first and then the referee decides to show a yellow card for a headbutt on Ivan Toney.
“He’s seen the incident as he’s booked him. A headbutt is rarely a yellow card.
“Obviously the second half then became very difficult, but we had no problems for 15 minutes and Ivan Toney had two great chances to score.
“But we let in some disappointing goals and had no luck. We have played okay, the lads have carried the gameplan out well, but decisions went against us.
“This game has gone now. We must pick ourselves up and get on with things. We’ve had no luck since I returned. We have to keep 11 men on the pitch and we have started picking up injuries which hadn’t happened at all until I came back.
DONCASTER ROVERS 3, PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1: Posh undone by haphazard officiating and lots of misfortune in the big game
“I might be jinxed. The club has certainly been cursed lately, but it just makes me more determined to be successful again.
“In fact I’ve never been more determined to win a promotion. The challenge is what it is. We’ve lost an important game, but there will be twists and turns to come and we must make sure we are on the right end of them.
“We have to keep believing.”
Posh are next in League One action at Oxford on Saturday (February 16) when left-back Daniel Lafferty should be fit enough to return.
Ferguson made no comment on Doncaster’s decision to keep possession after Posh ‘keeper Conor O’Malley had deliberately kicked the ball out of play as Ward was down injured. Ward was off the pitch at the time so Doncaster kept the ball and scored the third goal.
There was a suggestion that a Doncaster player told O’Malley to kick the ball out of play.