Promotion miss will hit Clarke
THE pain of missing out on back-to-back promotions will linger for Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke.
With results going well elsewhere, a Rovers win at Peterborough would have left them with a good chance of nicking a play-off place with their final match against sixth-place Millwall.
But a ‘gobsmacked’ Clarke saw his side go four goals down after a Leo Da Silva Lopes double and strikes from Marcus Maddison and Craig Mackail-Smith.
And despite two late strikes from Rory Gaffney, it was a painful day for Clarke with Ellis Harrison also missing a penalty.
He said: “The other results make a flat day even flatter.
“I’m very down. It will take a few days to get over it, but as a team we are not a million miles away.
“It was a frustrating performance. We missed a penalty, hit the post, had one off the line. We created numerous chances.
“I’m a little bit gobsmacked. If we had defended anywhere near what we are capable of doing we would have won the game.
“We are disappointed but the players can be proud of their achievements. I said to the boys we have been outstanding in the second-half of the season.”
Da Silva Lopes struck early for Posh, but his foul on Byron Moore should have allowed Harrison to level the scores.
However, Luke McGee saved the penalty before Maddison took advantage of a mistake from Rovers centreback Ryan Sweeney to expertly lob goalkeeper Joe Lumley.
The goalkeeper then let a Da Silva cross through his legs, before Mackail-Smith and Gaffney completed the scoring.
Posh boss Grant McCann believed moving to three at the back galvanised 18-year-old Da Silva Lopes, who scored his first-ever league goals.
He said: “It’s a formation I think can help Leonardo. I think it can help him get up the pitch – he’s so quick. “The first goal is a great finish across his body. I was delighted for him to score a couple of goals.
“He’s had a long season – 45 games for an 18-year-old is an incredible thing. He’s going to be colossal next season.
“There are going to be changes next year, a fresh approach. That’s something over the summer I will be working hard to do.”
On his side’s performance, McCann added: “Once we scored the first goal we were on top and possibly could have had a few more if I’m honest.”
STAR MAN MARCUS MADDISON Peterborough