Nick Ames was at London Road this evening, and his report has landed. Click below for that. Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!
Pep talks to ITV. “Except for the first six minutes of the second half, the rest was really good. We know the quality Riyad has, and the thing I am most proud of is that he loves to play football. It is not a profession for him, it is a joy, and he has incredible quality up front. Jack Grealish played really well, and it’s important he came back for the injury.” He’s then asked about a possible treble, and flatly refuses to get involved in any such discussion. And who can blame him?
Grant McCann, Posh and proud. “I’m really proud of the performance. We had to be good defensively, and we were well organised. We had some good moments in transition. We had a massive chance to go 1-0 up, and on another day we would, but against top teams they keep probing. That’s a benchmark now, there’s good quality in this changing room, and it’s up to myself and my staff to get it out of them on a more regular basis.”
A cheerful Jack Grealish talks to ITV. “We had most of the chances. We had a lot of the ball, but we’ve had a lot of teams sitting in against us recently. It’s something we’ve got used to. We finally broke Everton down, and we did the same thing tonight. You know what was funny? I sat next to Phil Foden on the coach here, and was scrolling through Twitter, and a video of Messi’s passing come up, and we were just watching. And as soon as Phil hits that pass, I score and when we were celebrating, he comes over to me and says: just like what we were watching before the game! Just like Messi, his pass!” He also praises Oleksandr Zinchenko for his performance in these trying times.
FULL TIME: Peterborough United 0-2 Manchester City
Foden bullets a header over from 12 yards, and that’s the final whistle. City are the first ball into the velvet bag for the sixth-round draw. They weren’t at their best, but eventually scored two wonderful goals. Peterborough made the champions of England work for the win, and can be proud of their performance tonight. More of that, and Championship survival isn’t beyond them.
90 min: Stones heads across the face of goal, left to right, teeing up his partner Laporte, six yards out. Laporte somehow flicks the ball wide right. A farcical miss here, not that it matters.
89 min: Grealish has a go from a tight angle on the left. Benda, who has performed very well after that comically nervous clearance after 70 seconds, tips over brilliantly. That’s an excellent save.
88 min: On ITV, Lee Dixon names Jeando Fuchs of Peterborough as his player of the match. That’s a fine choice, the Cameroonian midfielder has been here, there and everywhere, and as Dixon (a City fan) says, giving it to a City player would have been boring. Fuchs certainly deserves it on his own terms.
84 min: Brown launches long down the middle in the hope of releasing Marriott. Marriott doesn’t have the momentum to beat Laporte, who eases him off the ball. A shame for Posh that Jones wasn’t still on the pitch to take advantage of that situation.
83 min: Signs that both teams would declare now if that was an option.
81 min: City continue to press. The ball pinballs around the Peterborough box, but doesn’t quite fall for either Foden or Mahrez. It’s eventually shuttled clear. But City come again, and Grealish is clipped by Fuchs, just to the left of the Posh D. A free kick in a dangerous position coming up.
79 min: Another couple of Posh changes. Burrows and Mumba come on for Ward and Coulson.
77 min: Cancelo has a whack. Blocked. Gundogan dribbles into the box from the right. He aims, like Mahrez for the opener, towards the bottom left. That one’s blocked as well. City scent a third.
75 min: City stroke it around a bit, just because they can. “Like City, the Posh had their own fly on the wall documentary back in the late 90’s naturally titled There’s Only One Barry Fry,” writes Ian Burch. “It follows Barry as he takes over the club as Chairman and Manager promising to take them out of the then Div 2. A man of his word, Barry duly takes them straight down to Div 3. Along the way we get to see Barry effing and jeffing at his players and almost coming to blows with some of them. We also witness Barry in his office where every day is transfer deadline day as he wheels and deals, banging his gavel on his desk at the conclusion of a transfer like Leonard Sachs introducing someone like Roy Castle on The Good Old Days.”
73 min: Peterborough could be forgiven for feeling deflated, having battled hard for so long, only to concede a quick one-two that has surely put the game out of their reach. But they continue to run, press and harry, and their fans are still giving it plenty. A great FA Cup atmosphere.
71 min: Posh make a triple change, replacing Jones, Szmodics and Poku with Clarke-Harris, Brown and Marriott. The latter is quickly involved, sending a rasping shot towards the top right and forcing Ederson into his first serious save of the evening. He parries strongly.
69 min: Knight nutmegs Mahrez out on the right. Huge cheers. The move fizzles out, and then the whistle goes, Szmodics having thrown Fernandinho to the floor during a penalty-box wrestling match. Both men are booked, Fernandinho unluckily so, having done very little, Szmodics having briefly lost his head and instigating the entire thing.
GOAL! Peterborough United 0-2 Manchester City (Grealish 67)
Foden, just to the right of the centre circle, sprays a glorious pass towards Grealish, on the left-hand edge of the Posh D. Grealish stuns the ball with one velvet touch, moves a little to the left to see off the nearby Knight, and slots into the bottom left. Benda once again had no chance. Who knew long-ball football could be so pretty?
65 min: Poku is sent scampering clear into the City box down the right … but only because Ward had clattered into Laporte during the build-up to make space. The whistle goes for a free kick.
64 min: … or was it a brilliant bit of defending by Knight? Yep. Replays show the Posh defender got across and stuck out a desperate boot, Mahrez’s shot pinging off his toe and over. What a challenge! No corner, though.
63 min: It should be two. Jones dribbles down the Posh left but his low cross is cleared. City break. Grealish releases Mahrez down the inside right. Mahrez enters the box … but sends his shot sailing over the bar with only the keeper to beat.
62 min: That was some goal by Mahrez, who has done plenty of things wrong this evening, uncharacteristically so … but kept on keeping on, and what reward! That’s a fine goal out of nothing, the cream finally rising.
GOAL! Peterborough United 0-1 Manchester City (Mahrez 60)
Mahrez hasn’t been on top form this evening … until now. A loose ball down the right. He picks up possession, jinks into the box, uses Coulson as cover, drops a shoulder and steers a curler across Benda and into the bottom right. That’s a delightful precision finish!
59 min: Foden sprays a lovely diagonal pass to Zinchenko on the left. For a second, Peterborough look exposed, but Ward sticks to his man like glue and forces him to turn tail.
57 min: Mahrez crosses from the right. Too much air. Goal kick. Benda still hasn’t had his palms seriously warmed this evening.
56 min: Poku has a run at Stones down the left. He reaches the box and dribbles a shot goalwards from a tight angle. Ederson claims easily enough. City go up the other end, Zinchenko entering the Posh box on the left and slipping while shooting. Goal kick. A great cup-tie atmosphere at London Road.
55 min: “Can we play you every week?” chorus the Peterborough fans, following up with “Que sera sera … we’re going to Wembley.” A classic FA Cup medley. You’ve got to sing them while you can.
53 min: Mahrez is working hard, though. He drives down the inside-right channel, only to be eased off the ball by Fuchs, who shepherds it out for a goal kick. Nothing’s quite coming off for Mahrez this evening.
52 min: The expected second-half City charge hasn’t quite materialised yet. Fernandinho tries to release Mahrez down the right but, as the ball flies out for a goal kick, realises his team-mate hasn’t made any run. Oh dear.
50 min: City fancy a first FA Cup since 2019, though. Mahrez grooves down the right and stands one up for Jesus at the far stick. Jesus wafts his header over the bar. This game is great fun.
48 min: A couple of huge chances for Posh within a minute! A throw from the right is flicked on and drops to Szmodics on the penalty spot. He scuffs wide left. Then Knight burns down the right and cuts back for Grant, who has his leg cocked back, ready to shoot, when Foden slides in to make a stunning block. Peterborough are up for their first visit to the quarters since 1965!
47 min: Kent trips Foden, and at some cost, copping a boot in the mouth as the City player flies upside down over his outstretched leg. All innocent, and thankfully it doesn’t look like the Peterborough man is badly hurt. He’s up and about again soon enough.
46 min: Fuchs brings down an in-flight Grealish. Free kick out on the left. Gundogan whistles it straight down Benda’s throat.
Posh get the second half started. City have made two changes, swapping out their central-defensive partnership of Ake and Dias with Laporte and Stones.
HALF TIME: Peterborough United 0-0 Manchester City
Cancelo loops a pass down the inside right. Jesus chests down but can’t connect properly with his kick. And that’s that for the first half. The bottom side in the Championship are holding the champions of England! As they depart for their half-time oranges, they get the roar of approval they deserve. The magic of the FA Cup, right here!
44 min: Szmodics launches a ball down the middle. Jones races after it. He clatters into Ake, mid jump. Ake lands on his back and doesn’t move … but thankfully he’s only been winded, and is soon up again. He accepts Jones’ arm around the shoulder, one of apology and friendship, with good grace.
42 min: Now Gundogan crosses from the left. Jesus, falling backwards, can’t get a header on target. The ball sails over the bar. City have been utterly dominant, and yet Benda hasn’t had to make too many saves.
41 min: Mahrez diddles into some space on the right, checks back and floats a cross onto the head of Gundogan, who steers a header harmlessly wide right. Big chance, six yards out.
38 min: Zinchenko curls in from the left. Poku sticks out a leg to turn the cross behind for yet another City corner. Gundogan takes … and Benda claims with great confidence. A marked contrast to the goalkeeper of 2 mins.
37 min: City probe and pass. Dias then swings one in from a deep position on the right … and hoicks it straight out for a goal kick. City aren’t exactly rattled, but they’re struggling to find their high gears right now.
35 min: A long ball down the middle forces Ederson to charge out of his box and blooter clear, with Jones and Grant sniffing around. This has been staunch stuff from the hosts so far.
34 min: Benda is fine to continue. Not sure that Fernandinho challenge would have been tolerated in the Six Nations.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism