Peterborough United manager Graham Westley reckons his side ‘grew up’ tonight (April 19) despite an agonising last-gasp defeat at Barnsley.
The Tykes maintained their push for the League One play-offs with a 91st-minute winning goal after Posh had played 50 minutes with 10 men following a red card for Chris Forrester.
Westley accepted that Forrester deserved to be sent off, but he was irritated by Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane’s role in the red card.
The Posh boss, who was also sent to the stands in the final moments by referee Michael Bull, also had words of comfort for goalkeeper Ben Alnwick who was outstanding until a late slip presented Barnsley with their winner.
Westley said: “I will remember Ben’s performance for the moments of brilliance rather than an unfortunate last minute mistake. He made one save in the first half that was ‘Banks-like’. It was a shame that our man-of-the-match made a slip at the end.
“Ben’s concentration had been broken by his caution for time-wasting, but then we had to put up with lots of difficult decisions this evening.
“I think Chris probably deserved to go, but Hourihane should have gone with him.
“Hourihane feigned a head butt which the referee saw and then stamped on Chris which the referee didn’t see. That was disappointing. Chris will have to learn not to react in those situations.
“This was a difficult game for us anyway. It was a tough environment to come with them pushing for the play offs and the red card made it harder.
“But I go away from the game with a real sense of positivity. We had some young players who grew up tonight.
“We are going to finish in mid-table so we need to show the fans that we care for the shirt in the remaining games. We did that. Young players stepped up to the plate.
“It was blood sweat and tears the way we defended our goal. We showed a level of commitment I hope our fans were pleased to see.
“There was an injustice here tonight, but we still have lots we can be positive about. If we keep 11 men on the field all showing the desire and determination the 10 men showed, we would have won this game.”
Forrester will now be suspended for the home game with Scunthorpe on Saturday (April 23). Michael Bostwick is now on 14 cautions.