FORMER Colchester United hero Sammie Szmodics was the two-goal hero as Peterborough United inflicted a catastrophic 4-1 defeat on promotion rivals Ipswich Town.

The midfielder, on loan from Bristol City, profited from a goalkeeping howler by Will Norris and put the cherry on the cake with a sublime fourth for Darren Ferguson’s side.

Ivan Toney had got the ball rolling with a cool penalty and Siriki Dembele curled home the third – much to the dismay of the frustrated Town fans.

James Norwood buried a late penalty for the hosts but it proved scant consolation on a miserable afternoon.

It was a match that pitted third against fourth in the League One table, with Ipswich looking to get back on track after Tuesday’s limp 1-0 defeat at Rotherham United.

However, once again, they were never at the races, with blunders at the back compounded by a complete lack of threat in the final third.

Frankie Kent, another former U’s favourite, was also in the Posh team and played his part in an impressive fourth-straight win for Ferguson’s men.

From Town’s perspective, it was a day when everything went wrong and they were booed off after a bitterly disappointing opening half.

First, they suffered a blow after losing Luke Garbutt to injury in the 17th minute.

The wing-back is one of the main creative outlets in the team, as well as being a mean taker of set-pieces, so it was a major setback.

Six minutes later, Posh took the lead after a slick counter-attack.

Tovey played in Dembele, bursting into the area, but the frontman was tripped by James Wilson.

The loose ball deflected off Norris before being cleared by Luke Chambers.

However, referee Andy Woolmer pointed to the spot after consulting with assistant Ian Cooper.

It was a definite penalty.

Tovey took it and coolly slotted his low effort to Norris’ left.

Ten minutes later, Peterborough made it two after a horrendous error by the Town keeper.

After a pass-back by Cole Skuse, Norris opted to keep the ball rather than clear it.

He was robbed by the predatory Szmodics, who gleefully turned home from close range.

It was a catastrophic goal and the mountain became insurmountable five minutes into the second half, after a third from the visitors.

Jack Taylor fed Dembele, who cut inside before curling a precision shot inside the far corner.

Game over.

Szmodics, who also scored in Tuesday's 2-1 victory against Rotherham United, coolly slotted home Peterborough’s fourth, after a clever chipped pass from Dembele.

And although Norwood pulled one back from the spot, after a foul by Mark Beevers on substitute Freddie Sears, it failed to provide any cheer for Paul Lambert’s side.

Town will now lick their wounds and go back to the drawing board before making the long trip to Sunderland next Saturday.