League One - Posh succeed in promotion push

Sun, 29 May 17:02:00 2011

Peterborough United secured an immediate return to the Championship courtesy of a 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in the League One play-off final at Old Trafford.

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All three goals came between the 78th and 85th minutes, with Tommy Rowe, Craig Mackail-Smith and Grant McCann gifting Posh boss Darren Ferguson a third promotion across two spells with the club at a stadium usually patrolled by his father Sir Alex.

Mackail-Smith, making what is expected to be his final appearance for the club despite their promotion, was earlier guilty of two horrible misses but took his tally for the club to 99, and 35 for the season, before moving on, possibly to the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Huddersfield manager Lee Clark saw his side's 27-game unbeaten run in the league come to an inglorious end as the Terriers suffered play-off disappointment for the second season in succession, having finished third in the table.

Mackail-Smith started the contest knowing that two goals would see him register a cool 100 for Posh, so it was somewhat unfortunate that the first half was bookended by two glaring misses from the Scotland international.

After only five minutes Mackail-Smith was sent clear by a superb flicked pass from playmaker George Boyd and drove through the heart of the Huddersfield defence to give himself a clear shot at goal: Anthony Kay slid in to get a faint touch on his low shot, but it was enough to divert the ball's course and send it cannoning off the edge of the post.

Chances were scarce in a combative contest that saw Huddersfield's Lee Peltier push the boundaries of acceptability when collecting just one booking. Meanwhile, team-mate Benik Afobe found himself in dangerous areas but was guilty of poor decision-making and a lack of control as he squandered two good chances.

Huddersfield also threatened through a header from defender Peter Clarke and a curling free-kick from Gary Roberts that forced Peterborough goalkeeper Peter Jones into making a save at full-stretch as he turned the ball round the post.

However it was Peterborough, and Mackail-Smith again, who wasted an excellent chance to take the lead in first-half injury time. Put through by a poke from Boyd, he snatched at his shot and shunted the ball wide.

The Terriers continued to apply pressure to Posh in the second half and saw Daniel Ward strike the top of the bar after shrugging off Grant Basey on the right wing and taking aim from a tight angle.

With just 12 minutes remaining though, Posh cut loose. Boyd won a free-kick on the edge of the box and McCann whipped in a set-piece that Rowe flicked on, beating former Peterborough goalkeeper Ian Bennett.

Within 90 seconds the lead was doubled. Making amends for his earlier misses, Mackail-Smith collected a cut-back from Boyd and saw his curled effort dribble in at the far post after clipping Huddersfield defender Kay.

Clark's side's capitulation was complete with 85 minutes remaining as Posh captain McCann struck a wonderful free-kick, the ball flying into the top corner and out of Bennett's reach.

Huddersfield's lengthy unbeaten record was brought to an end, as was Peterborough's membership of League One. They are back in the second tier.

Tom Adams - Follow me on Twitter @tomEurosport / Eurosport

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