Peterborough United claimed a first League One home win since August 18 thanks to a second-half goal from centre-back Rhys Bennett against Fleetwood at the ABAX Stadium. (October 23).
Bennett’s thumping header from a Louis Reed corner in the 53rd settled a contest that only really came alive after the goal.
Fleetwood pressed hard for an equaliser, but Poshs defended so well goalkeeper Aaron Chapman was rarely called into action.
Posh tried to ensure they didn’t fail to score for the third home game in a row by leaving out their three top scorers and playing Ivan Toney up top on his own in the 4-4-1-1 formation last seen when Barnsley romped to a 4-0 success at this ground.
Fleetwood are packed with experienced players, but they are no Barnsley. The result was a first-half stalemate which ended goalless without a single shot on target from either side.
Posh tried to pass. Reed, on his first League One start for the club, presumably replaced Mark O’Hara for his ability on the ball and he did play two glorious crossfield passes in the opening 15 minutes which led to nothing.
But scoring chances proved rare. Posh changed their defence for the first time in a League game this season with Joe Ward replacing Jason Naismith at right-back without any loss of defensive security. Marcus Maddison started in front of Ward and even though he was faced with a winger in Ross Wallace playing left-back he made no headway.
Jamie Walker was deployed behind Toney, but rarely got on the ball. He did shrug off a defender on the edge of the Fleetwood area, but looked up to find little support.
Former Posh centre-back Craig Morgan missed the best chance of the half. In fact he missed the ball altogether when a right wing set-piece delivery passed him by six yards from goal.
Siriki Dembele looked the most likely goal threat for Posh. His dancing feet created a decent opportunity 10 minutes before the break, but his shot lacked accuracy.
But Posh started the second-half with more urgency. Maddison came alive sending in a couple of dangerous crosses, the first of which was missed by Colin Daniel at the far post, the second of which led to a corner which Posh converted to take the lead.
Reed drilled the cross over which Bennett powered into the corner of the net with a firm header.
Posh were visibly lifted and Toney immediately tried a long chip that was held comfortably by visiting ‘keeper Alex Cairns.
And just before the hour Walker, who was outstanding in the second-half, and Dembele combined well to set up a chance for Toney, but his eight-yard shot was charged down.
Falling behind made Fleetwood attack with more pace and purpose. Wes Burns started to threaten down the right, his first effort was blazed well over, but his second was superbly tipped away by Chapman.
Substitute Chris Long then fired just wide from the edge of the area and Ashley Hunter dragged a 12-yard shot wide after a corner fell kindly to him.
Toney saw a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside from a free kick and a clean strike from the striker was blocked by Alex Cairns’ legs after more fine work from Walker.
But Fleetwood dominated the final stages. Alex Woodyard and Reed produced fine defensive blocks before the visitors received a boost when six minutes of added time was shown, rather surprisingly.
In the first of them Long beat two men and fired another shot just wide,.
But Posh hung on for a valuable three points to maintain second place in the division.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Joe Ward, Colin Daniel, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed (sub Mark O’Hara, 85 mins)., Marcus Maddison (sub Jason Naismith, 75 mins), Siriki Dembele (sub George Cooper, 88 mins)., Jamie Walker, Ivan Toney.
Unused substitutes: Jason Cummings, Matt Godden,Mark Tyler, Tyler Denton.
Fleetwood: Alex Cairns, Lewie Coyle, Ashley Eastham, Craig Morgan, Ryan Taylor (Jason Holt, 63 mins), Kyle Dempsey (sub Chris Long, 63 mins), Ross Wallace, Dean Marney (sub Harrison Biggins, 43 mins), Ashley Hunter, Ched Evans.
Unused substitutes: Paul Jones, Cain Bolger, Gethin Jones, Ryan Rydel.
Goals: Posh - Bennett (53 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Daniel (foul).
Fleetwood - Wallace (foul), Taylor (foul), Long (dissent).
Referee: Ollie Yates 7
Attendance: 5,347 (46 Fleetwood).