Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson hailed a big three points for his team despite not playing anywhere near their best at Gillingham today (October 19).
Goals from Joe Ward - a screamer - and Mo Eisa - from the penalty spot - earned a 2-1 win. Gillingham pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time, but an understrenghth Posh team held firm for the three points that kept them in third place.
Posh were without Marcus Maddison (rib injury), Frankie Kent (tonsilitis) and Louis Reed (suspended). Ward, Siriki Dembele and Rhys Bennett replaced them with Niall Mason moving from right-back to fill Reed’s position at the base of a midfield diamond.
Ferguson also revealed that top scorer Ivan Toney almost missed the game because of an ankle injury.
“It’s a big win for us,” Ferguson, who could celebrate his 400th game as Posh manager with a win, insisted. “Any win at Gillingham is a good win. In fact I don’t think I’ve won here before.
“You’re always going to have to dig in and win here. They left the grass long which they are entitled to do and we were missing some key men so I’m delighted with the result, if not the performance.
“We weren’t anywhere near our best, but it was important we didn’t blow another two-goal lead as that would have damaged us mentally.
“No goalkeeper would have saved Wardy’s shot. He has that in him. We needed that and the penalty gave us some breathing space.
“Their goal shouldn’t hasve stood as Niall Mason didn’t kick the ball backwards, it was played by their striker, but although they have big strong forwards, and played with five up at the end, and they put a lot of crosses into the penalty area they didn’t create much.
“We looked like we would see the game out comfortably until they scored, but it was all about the win today. It’s a fantastic result, a very important one.
“We were always ready to go to 3-5-2 if the diamond wasn’t working and it allowed us to become more solid defensively. We never got control of the game though.”
Maddison is doubtful for Wednesday’s home League One game with Accrington Stanley, but Kent and Reed should return.