Peterborough United manager Graham Westley believes his team passed an important test of their promotion-winning credentials today (November 28).
A hat-trick from Conor Washington - the 50th Posh Football League hat-trick - and a penalty from Michael Bostwick secured an emphatic 4-0 win at Scunthorpe.
And a fourth League One success in a row has pushed Posh into the play-off positions for the first time this season and Westley believes they will take some shifting. They are sixth, just six points off top spot.
“We had a big target today,” Westley said. “We knew that if we won we would most likely be in a play-off position and that knowledge adds pressure to the game.
“But my players showed that they can cope with the demands of a promotion race. This was a big barrier to get over and to do it in such style was very pleasing. The players are a very level-headed bunch with great composure as they showed again here.
“Scunthorpe are not a bad side. They showed that with their win at Bury in midweek, but my players were outstanding from back to front.
“I’m delighted with the clean sheet as we defended with intelligence, bravery and skill, and I was obviously thrilled with our attacking play.
“When the conditions are windy and difficult it’s even more important to keep the ball on the floor and pass well and we did that part of the game very well.
“Every day Grant McCann (assistant manager) tells the lads to be brave enough to play out of defence and it is heartening to see such a young side take it on board and play so well.
“We could have got forward more in the first-half, but after the break we really took the game to them and we finished the match very strongly. We have players who are getting on the ball in their own half, quickly seeing the pictures that emerge and then having the confidence and courage to take advantage
“Conor’s finishing was clinical. He is learning all the time as we all are. His first goal was a brave header and his other goals were very well taken.
“Harry Beautyman was outstanding on his first start of the season. I went with his energy to replace Jermaine Anderson’s energy and he was almost rewarded for an excellent display with two goals.
“This is a wonderful football club. There are great professionals working behind the scenes and we all have one goal - to get this club promoted.
“There are no bad apples here, but we are not resting on our laurels. Every week we pledge to try and better for the following week and that won’t change even though we have won 4-0.”
On-loan West Ham teenager Martin Samuelsen made his Posh debut as a second-half substitute.
Beautyman was taken off because of a bout of cramp.
Posh are next in action in a second round FA Cup tie at home to League Two side Luton Town on Sunday, December 6 (2pm kick-off).