Peterborough United manager Grant McCann reckons the 1,000th Football League win in the club’s history was right up there with the best in his time at London Road.
McCann has been involved in a play-off final win, a promotion and a couple of Championship seasons since joining Posh in the summer of 2010, but beating League One title favourites Wigan Athletic 3-2 at the ABAX Stadium today (September 23) was a sweet moment for a second-season manager.
Two goals from Junior Morias and a 90th-minute strike for top scorer Jack Marriott delivered a victory that looked most unlikely at half-time. Wigan led 1-0 at the break, but should have been further ahead on the balance of play.
A first-half injury to Gwion Edwards prompted McCann to change shape. The arrival of a third centrel defender in Jack Baldwin closed down some of the space Wigan had enoyed before the break.
“I told the lads well done on only being 1-0 down at half-time,” McCann revealed. “And I wasn’t being sarcastic. Wigan had played well, but we had shown them too much respect. We stood off them and if you do that against players of this quality you will be punished. They dictated the first half.
“But the two clear chances we had created ourselves for Junior and for Marcus Maddison made me believe we were very much in with a chance of winning as did the fact that we are a very fit side who have scored lots of second half goals this season.
“And the boys were excellent in the second-half. I was going to change shape at half-time anyway, but Gwion’s injury made me do it earlier.
“We pushed Marcus up top so that his pace helped stretch their centreal defenders and we played Junior as a number 10 as we needed domeone aggressive to win the second balls.
“It was a different game in the second-half. We created lots of chances and even when they dragged it back to 2-2, the lads had the self-belief to hunt a third goal.
“I can’t say straight after the game that it was enjoyable, but it’s certainly up there with the biggest wins in my time at the club. On paper Wigan have the best squad in League One, but we matched them all over the field in the second-half.
“We defended like lions at times as well, Some of the clearances Steve Taylor, Jack Baldwin and Ryan Tafazolli made were incredible.
“I was delighted for Junior as well. He should have had a winning goal at Walsall last weekend so I’m thrilled with his goals today. He’s such a great lad and he’s very coachable insomuch as his listens and he wants to learn. The fact he got himself into a much better shape in the summer speaks volumes for him.
“In fact we worked hard on the entire squad’s fitness and we are reaping the reward.”
Posh are back up to second place and could go top if they win at bottom club Oldham on Tuesday (September 26) and leaders Shrewsbury lose at Doncaster.
Edwards has not yet been ruled out after suffering a groin strain today, but midfielder Anthony Grant will miss the game because of suspension after collecting his fifth caution of the season in the latter stages against Wigan. Striker Ricky Miller should return to the squad after missing today because of illness.
“It’s now import we play to the same standard against Oldham,” McCann added. “We know from last season that Oldham away on a Tuesday is a tough game and we can’t take them lightly.
“We must also start the game better. We haven’t scored a goal in the first-half of a game in September.”