Peterborough United central defender Jack Baldwin has emerged victorious from 14 months of hurt.
The 22-year old’s display in his first starting appearance since Novenber 1, 2014, following knee ligament surgery, at Sheffield United last Saturday (January 2) was described as ‘fantastic’ by Posh manager Graham Westley.
And Baldwin wasn’t going to argue, even though he was only spared the embarrassment of costing his side victory with a comedy own goal by team-mate Martin Samuelsen, who fired home a brilliant winner within 90 seconds at Bramall Lane.
Baldwin said: “All the hard work in training that I have put in since I have returned to fitness helped me prepare. I am happy with how things went. I was just hoping for a solid performance to get me going again, but I found myself winning my headers and tackles.
“I felt surprisingly comfortable fitness-wise after the 90 minutes. It was a tough game to start back in. Tt was a big game. Sheffield United are a huge club and there was over 20,000 fans inside the stadium, so I knew it would be tough, but I actually felt okay throughout.
“Obviously I was devastated with the own goal. The ball rolled into my path when I was already on the floor and I didn’t know what or who was behind me.
“I presumed there would be a striker there to pounce so I got my head onto the ball hoping that Ben Alnwick would get to his feet and be able to keep it out.
“The feeling wehen it went into the net was horrible, I was eating grass when the ball hit the back of the net, but if you check out my celebration when Martin scored that winner, you can see how much relief is etched on my face. I was ecstatic. Martin might have got a little kiss off me for that. The contrasts in emotions even within a minute were astonishing!
“I was obviously pleased with how the match went, but it more important to win the three points and what a way to do it!
“To win at Sheffield United was a big result. It was good to bounce back after the disappointment of the loss at Walsall when I actually thought we played well. We now have a winnable tie to look forward to in the FA Cup on Saturday (January 9).
Baldwin is likely to keep his place for that game as first-choice centre-back Michael Bostwick completes his recovery from a muscle injury.
Bostwick could now return the following weekend when Posh host League One promotion rivals Southend at the ABAX Stadium.