So it did not turn out to be quite such a dismal weekend for the Ferguson family after all. Less than 24 hours after Sir Alex's Manchester United side were chastened by Barcelona, his son Darren basked in the sunshine suddenly swathing Old Trafford as he celebrated Peterborough United's swashbuckling promotion to the Championship.
With George Boyd outstanding, Craig Mackail-Smith a constant threat and Grant McCann highly influential, Ferguson Jr's sweet-passing, positionally fluid team proved far too good for an ultimately humiliated Huddersfield.
Aware of the hurt Lee Clark was clearly feeling, Ferguson hugged his technical area counterpart long and hard at the final whistle. It is barely five months since Peterborough's manager was unceremoniously sacked by Preston North End and quietly returned to the club he steered to successive promotions in 2008 and 2009.
"It's the best day of my career as a player and a manager," said Ferguson. "It's a big day because, after my dad losing at Wembley, I really wanted to get this one right. He wasn't here because he's a jinx on us but I've just spoken to him and he's delighted." Appropriately this was a victory in the family's best attacking traditions. "We won because we didn't play safe. We played the right way."
Clark's players arrived on the back of a 27-game unbeaten league run but soon looked flustered in the face of Peterborough's brazen adventure. Mackail-Smith, their key striker, ruffled the Yorkshire defence every time he ran at it and swiftly looked like adding to his 34-goal haul for the season when, clean through, he shaped to shoot. Fortunately for Huddersfield, Antony Kay's splendidly timed last-ditch tackle diverted the ball on to a post. If that was a reprieve, the sight of Terry McDermott, Clark's assistant, arguing needlessly with officials betrayed his side's collective anxiety.
While Mackail-Smith posed one big problem, the insidiously elusive Boyd represented another major obstacle roaming across the pitch in a floating role, drifting between attack and defence. With Lee Tomlin deployed in similar fashion behind Mackail-Smith, Huddersfield appeared way out of their tactical comfort zone.
Although Clark had taken the precaution of fielding a five-man midfield – controversially dropping his leading scorer, Jordan Rhodes – Ferguson's men, perhaps inspired by watching Barcelona on television the previous night, simply delighted in playing through it. Benik Afobe, Huddersfield's 18-year-old lone striker, on loan from Arsenal, was horribly isolated.
Peterborough's comfort in possession was making Clark almost as agitated as McDermott but at least Huddersfield tested Paul Jones's reflexes shortly before half-time, the goalkeeper doing well to repel Gary Roberts's curling free-kick. From the resultant corner Afobe swivelled smartly only to direct a close-range strike wide.
Mackail-Smith very nearly conjured a sharp riposte, toe-poking fractionally off target after Tomlin and Boyd hadonce again cut Huddersfield's defence open.
Kevin Kilbane, Clark's most experienced midfielder, struggled to make his Premier League nous count, cutting a largely peripheral figure. Kilbane and Huddersfield did enjoy a brief early second-half renaissance featuring Daniel Ward's swerving shot striking the top of the bar and Peterborough being required to combat a few crosses but it proved thoroughly deceiving and was soon undermined by Boyd.
When Ferguson's creative catalyst won a free-kick inches outside the penalty area after being brought down by Gary Naysmith, McCann's dead-ball delivery was headed home by Tommy Rowe and the celebrations had barely faded when Peterborough doubled their lead. Once again Boyd was the creator, playing in Mackail-Smith, whose shot took a helpful deflection en route beyond Ian Bennett.
A beautifully weighted, subtly curving McCann free‑kick concluded matters as, appropriately, brilliant sunshine replaced the cloud and rain which, possibly in sympathy with Ferguson Sr, had earlier shrouded the ground.
Not that Clark could detect any rainbows. Apparently shell-shocked he conducted post-match media duties in head bowed, voice barely audible guise. "It was a bad day. Losing 3-0 is eating me."
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