Saints took another step closer to a Premier League return with a comfortable 3-1 win over Peterborough. Nigel Adkins's men now need just two points from their remaining two games to secure promotion. The visitors had the game effectively wrapped up in the first 10 minutes. Saints came flying out the traps from kick off and cut through an open Peterborough side with ease. It was 1-0 after just five minutes when Jos Hooiveld headed in Danny Fox's corner. Four minutes later Saints doubled their lead following some great build up play between Adam Lallana and Richard Chaplow. Chaplow cut the ball back for Billy Sharp, who neatly finished into the bottom right. Saints could have had a third instantly after winning the ball back from kick-off, but Lallana's low shot was tipped round the post by Posh keeper Paul Jones. The hosts eventually got to grips with the ball and enjoyed a good spell of possession with some patient passing. Posh looked to pump crosses into big centre forward Tyrone Barnett, but the Saints defence stood firm and won the aerial battle. Peterborough then had a succession of corners, with Kelvin Davis sweeping up any danger. Saints soon managed to slow the tempo of the game down and controlled the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Saints entered the second half full of energy and pressed Peterborough high up the pitch. The third and killer goal eventually arrived on 57 minutes. Rickie Lambert brilliantly worked the ball to Lallana on the right. He crossed for Sharp, who calmly slotted in from close range. Saints grew in confidence after the goal, and played quick flowing football. There could easily have been more goals. Chaplow had a couple of decent efforts saved, while Dean Hammond saw his blistering drive fly just past the post. Peterborough had their moments too, and Davis had to be at his best to prevent a Peterborough comeback. He was eventually beaten on 86 minutes. Saints failed to properly clear a corner before Tommy Rowe bundled in from close range. The visitors looked comfortable going into stoppage time and could have added a fourth, with Lambert and Guly shooting just wide from distance.
A thoroughly satisfactory evening for Saints. Nigel Adkins's men responded perfectly to a bad set of results from the previous round of fixtures. Going into the game West Ham were in touching distance, but a win for us and a draw for them now leaves them with a mountain to climb. It's slightly disappointing that Reading look set to win the league, but promotion is what really matters, and Saints are so close to achieving their aim. It was a near perfect performance. Saints could have crumbled after going down to Reading last Friday, but settled all nerves inside the first 10 minutes. It was a brilliant team performance, with every single player putting in a great shift. Everyone looks full of confidence which bodes well for Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Attendance: 9,478 (3,438 Saints fans)
Davis: 8. Didn't look like he was ever going to get beaten for much of the night. Great positioning and some fine shot-stopping.
Butterfield: 7. A few minor errors, but overall pretty decent. Very solid defensively
Fonte: 7. Much improved from last Friday, very assured at the back.
Hooiveld: 8. Another Tuesday another goal .Didn't put a foot wrong at the back either. Came off injured in the second half, but didn't seem to be hurting too badly, so hopefully it was just a precaution.
Fox: 7. Decent set piece delivery, and good defensive work too.
Chaplow: 7. Great movement in and around the opposition's box. Should have cleared the ball that lead to the Peterborough goal, but that was the only real negative.
Cork: 8. Read the game superbly. Set the tempo and also defended very well.
Hammond: 8. Broke up play in midfield with some fine tackling, and also showcased a decent range of passing.
Lallana: 8. At his best yet again. All the skill was on show and a number of chances were created out of nothing.
Sharp: 8. Two goals and some superb link up play.
Lambert: 8. Brilliant hold up play, Peterborough couldn't cope with him.
Martin: 6. Looked comfortable at the back. Didn't do a lot wrong
Guly: Some decent link up play with Lambert in the closing stages