IT was an emotional London Road farewell for Peterborough United central defender Ryan Bennett, but also a very happy one.
’Benno’ was playing his last home match in Posh colours before a multi-million pound move to Norwich City and the Premier League, and a win and a clean sheet, just the third Posh have managed in the Championship all season, made it a perfect goodbye.
The Posh fans even spent the last minute of the match chanting his name in recognition of a high-class couple of seasons.
“It was great to hear them singing about me at the end,” Bennett admitted, “especially as some of them were booing me in the first half whenever I passed the ball back to Paul Jones!
“I’d like to thank the fans for their support in my time here. They have been brilliant with me.
“It was emotional to think that it was my last game at London Road, but winning and getting a clean sheet was the perfect way for me to bow out.
“I will miss the place and I will miss playing with Gaby Zakuani. Gabs is just an incredible man. He’s started having injections in his toe for fun now.
“He must have had 50 now and I can promise 99 per cent of players would not have gone through that. I hope I get to play with him again as he’s been a brilliant partner.
“There’s no doubt we deserved to win and 3-0 was about right. We came under a bit of pressure from set-pieces at the start of the second half, but we were comfortable for the most part,
“We had a gameplan and we executed it perfectly. We wanted to get back to the standard of the MK Dons play-off match at home when we didn’t give them a moment’s peace on the ball and it worked a treat.
“I expect us to kick on now and climb up the table. We’ve shown we belong in the Championship and I’m sure the team will continue to progress without me.”
Posh boss Darren Ferguson abandoned his midfield diamond for the day in favour of a 4-4-2 formation with George Boyd and Paul Taylor playing in the wide positions.
Ferguson also dropped goalkeeper Joe Lewis in favour of Paul Jones and the latter responded by helping to claim his first clean sheet of the Championship season.
Goals at the start and end of the match from Lee Tomlin and a classy finish from David Ball ensured Posh won for the first time since the trip to Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day.
Ferguson said: “I had some tough decisions to make, but I always make them for the good of the team and they worked out well in this game.
“Paul is a very reliable goalkeeper and he again delivered a very solid performance, but this was a good all-round team effort.
“We played with a flat midfield four to enable us to get the ball in the area from wide areas and the two lads out wide put in terrific shifts for us.
“The workrate was key as well. We really put them under pressure when they were in possession and in the end we were well worth the win.
“We defended well when we had too and Gaby Zakuani was outstanding as he has been for most of the season.
“Everything that came into the box was headed away by Gaby. And he doesn’t just head it, he heads it miles.
“Ryan Bennett was also very good. We’ll miss him, but he deserves his chance in the Premier League.”
What are your favourite Ryan Bennett moments at Posh?