A last-minute strike from top scorer Jack Marriott and two goals from Junior Morias delivered a stunning 3-2 win for Peterborough United over League One title favourites Wigan Athletic at the ABAX Stadium today (September 23).
Posh had been outplayed in the first half by a classy visiting outfit, but crucially only trailled to a deflected shot from Michael Jacobs at the break.
It was a different story in the second half as Junior Morias equalised with a 47th minute piledriver and then the same player fired Posh in front from 25 yards with just five minutes remaining.
Wigan levelled through Ryan Colclough who was left unmarked at a corner within 60 seconds before Marriott burst through the visiting defence on 90 minutes to seal a dramatic win.
The Posh players and manager embarked on a lap of honour after a win which moved them back up to second place in League One.
This was always going to be the toughest test of the season so far. Wigan arrived at the ABAX Stadium in great form, scoring goals and barely conceding any, just three so far this season.
Posh boss Grant McCann was determined to fight fire with fire though and selected the same side and 4-4-2 formation that finished the previous game so strongly at Walsall.
Wigan are no Walsall though. They have a side stacked with players who wouldn’t look out of place in the division above and they played with understandable arrogance and a silky swagger for most of the opening 45 minutes.
That Posh were only a goal behind to a 33rd minute bobbler from Jacobs was quite remarkable on the evidence of that first half.
Jacobs had earlier been denied by Posh ‘keeper Jonathan Bond after the home defence had been carved open on nine minutes and Gavin Massey sidefooted over the bar from 12 yards after another fluent move six minutes later.
Nick Powell, who pulled most of the strings despite playing at walking pace, headed a corner over the bar when unmarked and after the goal a terrific scramble saw Bond save superbly from Ivan Toney, Steven Taylor head the ball while lying on the floor, and Bond make another save from a deflected Massey shot.
Just before the break three incisive passes freed Jacobs who missed the target.
Posh had been outplayed completely, and yet hope existed in the two golden chances they created themselves.
Morias headed a superb Marcus Maddison cross over the bar on 16 minutes and the latter failed to convert a golden opportunity five minutes before the break when racing clear on to a pass from Morias, but delaying fatally before delivering a weak shot that Wigan ‘keeper Jamie Jones saved.
Posh lost key midfielder Gwion Edwardss to an injury late in the half. Centre-back Jack Baldwin replaced him as Posh switched to a 3-4-1-2 formation.
And the changes worked in Posh’s favour as they flew out of the traps in the second half.
A superb run and cross from Andrew Hughes led to Morias’ first goal and then were chances galore at both ends before the dramatic finale.
Maddison took down a brilliant ball from Hughes, but couldn’t force it past Jones and Jones again came to the rescue after Maddison had freed Marriott into the penalty area.
Jacobs then skinned Baldwin, tricked his way past Steven Taylor, only for Bond to make another terrific save.
Then five minutes from time, and after a spell of Wigan dominance, Morias accepted a short pass from Ryan Tafazolli and blasted into the bottom corner.
Back came Wigan to equalise from a set-piece within 60 seconds, but some patient Posh passing ended with substitute Anthony Grant firing the ball at Marriott who turned and finished calmly.
It was a fitting end to a breathtaking contest and a fitting way to complete 1,000 Football League wins.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Liam Shephard, Andrew Hughes, Ryan Tafazolli, Steven Taylor, Michael Doughty (sub Anthony Grant, 65 mins), Chris Forrester, Marcus Maddison (sub Jermaine Anderson, 90 mins), Gwion Edwards (sub Jack Baldwin, 39 mins), Junior Morias, Jack Marriott.
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Danny Lloyd, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Idris Kanu.
Wigan: Jamie Jones, Nathan Byrne, Chey Dunkley, Dan Burns, Reece James, Lee Evans. Michael Jacobs, Nick Powell (sub Max Power, 63 mins), David Perkins, Gavin Massey (sub Ruan Colclough, 63 mins), Ivan Toney (sub Will Grigg, 85 mins).
Unused substitutes: Matija Sarkic, Callum Elder, Alex Bruce, Gary Roberts, Referee: Chris Sarginson.
Goals: Posh - Morias (47 mins & 85 mins), Marriott (90 mins).
Wigan - Jacobs (33 mins), Colclough (86 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Doughty (foul), Grant (foul).
Wigan - Burn (dissent), Byrne (foul).
Referee: Chris Sarginson 6
Attendance: 6,095 (559 Wigan).