Grant McCann hopes big last-day win is sign of things to come

Barnsley v Peterborough United – Sky Bet Championship – Oakwell
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Peterborough manager Grant McCann is hoping his side’s thumping final-day victory over Blackpool is a sign of better times ahead after an otherwise disappointing season.

The Posh’s relegation had long been confirmed before the under-strength Seasiders were put to the sword at London Road, as they suffered their worst defeat since a 7-2 hammering at Watford in January 2015.

While the visitors were never at the races, that should not detract from a stylish performance from Peterborough – who have shown signs of improvement since McCann’s return in February.

It was not enough to keep them in the Championship, after only one campaign in the second tier, but the former Northern Ireland midfielder will want plenty more displays like this next season.

McCann said: “We’ve been working on that, just the reaction from when we lose the ball – I thought we were good on that today.

“I thought we were on the front foot in everything we did, we limited them to very few opportunities on our goal and hopefully we can take that, moving forward.

“Today was about sending the fans home happy with a little bit of positivity. That, today, was for them.

“I felt a little bit embarrassed, a little bit ashamed walking around at the end. We’ve shown our appreciation to the fans but it just didn’t feel right, so hopefully next season we can walk around with a different sort of feeling.

“The front four were very, very good today, so it was a real good team performance, some really good goals.

“All in all, it was a real good day at the office today.”

Peterborough controlled the game from the start, with Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell having to make a couple of good saves from Jack Taylor while also denying Ricky-Jade Jones.

The breakthrough came in the 36th minute when Kwame Poku played the ball through for Jonson Clarke-Harris, who rounded Maxwell before calmly finishing.

The Posh cut loose after the hour mark, with Sammie Szmodics doubling their lead with a low finish past Maxwell after a lovely chipped ball over the defence by Jones.

Szmodics then claimed his second and Peterborough’s third by tapping in Harrison Burrows’ low ball across goal.

Substitute Jack Marriott got in on the act with a cushioned volley, Burrows again with the assist, before Taylor struck the best of the lot in the closing stages with a stunning effort into the top corner.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley said: “Not like us at all. We saved our worst performance until the last game of the season.

“We were miles off it today, just miles off it, not good enough all over the pitch in possession or out of possession, defending the goal, the goals we gave away, we didn’t look like scoring.

“We just weren’t good enough. That’s the first time in my two years here that I question the appetite and the application of the players.

“It’ll leave a bitter taste in the mouth over the next six weeks before we start back for pre-season, but I also have to have some perspective as well.

“It probably tells you how well we’ve done over the previous 45 games that we’ve never been in that situation before, and it can happen in this division. Unfortunately, it has happened to us today.”

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