Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson praised the ‘bottle’ shown by his players as they clinched a date at Wembley with a penalty shoot-out victory at Swindon last night (February 17).
Posh beat Swindon 4-3 on penalties in the Southern Area Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the County Ground. A 1-1 draw after 90 minutes left the teams deadlocked at 3-3 on aggregate.
Match report & photos: Swindon 1, Posh 1 (Posh win 4-3 on penalties) - We’re on our way to Wembley!
But Ferguson’s men kept their nerve as skipper Tommy Rowe, Grant McCann, Michael Bostwick and Britt Assombalonga scored from the spot to make Danny Swanson’s miss irrelevant.
Assombalonga had earlier netted a 75th minute equaliser - his 24th goal of the season - after Posh had fallen behind on the night to a first-half goal from Alex Pritchard.
“All credit to my players for showing great bottle,” Ferguson enthused. “You have to have bottle to take a penalty in a shoot-out and apart from Danny Swanson’s, all our penalties were excellent.
“I’m delighted right now to have secured a great day out for the players, the chairman, the management staff and the fans at Wembley. It’s a great night for the club, no matter how we achieved it.
“I have no doubt that a final at Wembley will capture the city’s imagination. We will take a big crowd and we will go there intent on winning a trophy.
“It will also give us a boost for the rest of the season. We can actually forget about Wembley for five weeks, but I am sure that every player in my squad will want to play in that final and that should be good for me and for the club.
“It’s important we now keep the commitment and consistency we have shown in the last couple of weeks for the rest of the season. We can go to Wembley at the end of March and it will hopefully prove to be good preparation for a second visit later in the season.
“Whenever we have had success at this club we have enjoyed good runs of form from March onwards and we need to do that again.
“I felt we deserved to win tonight. We started the game fairly well, but then conceded a poor goal. I told the players at half-time that they mustn’t lose their patience and they didn’t.
“We kept the ball better in the second-half without penetrating too often, but we know that if we supply Britt with chances then he will score. It was a great little cross from Michael Bostwick and Britt did the rest.
“We will enjoy the night, but we are back to work on Wednesday (February 19) when our focus will be on Stevenage rather than Wembley.”
Posh are at bottom club Stevenage for a League One fixture on Saturday (February 22).
The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final will take place on Sunday, March 30. Posh will know their opponents later tonight (February 18) when League Two sides Chesterfield and Fleetwood play the second leg of the Northern Area Final.
Hosts Chesterfield hold a 3-1 lead from the first leg.
Posh will announce ticket details for Wembley tomorrow. The club are understood to have an initial allocation of 21,000 tickets,
Posh will now re-arrange their League One fixture at home to Gillingham which was scheduled for March 29.