POSH AL­MOST HIGH AND DRY

PETER­BORO’....1 SH­EFF WED ......0

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley

PETER­BOR­OUGH fans cel­e­brated wildly af­ter Grant McCann’s fab­u­lous free-kick took Dar­ren Fer­gu­son’s bat­tling side to the verge of Cham­pi­onship sur­vival.

McCann curled a 25-yard stunner past Chris Kirk­land in the 64th minute, a goal leav­ing the Owls perched per­ilously just a point clear of the dreaded drop zone.

Posh mean­while, re­main in 21st spot en­sur­ing that vic­tory in their last match of the sea­son against Crys­tal Palace will keep them up while Jones’ side could con­ceiv­ably lose and still avoid the drop.

“This is as good as we could have hoped for – to go into the last day and our sur­vival is in our hands. Win at Palace and our ri­vals can’t catch us,” said Fer­gu­son.

“We have a big goal dif­fer­ence ad­van­tage over Barns­ley, so we have to match their re­sult.

“I thought the play­ers were ex­cel­lent. We started re­ally well and then the game went stop-start which suited Wed­nes­day rather than us.

“It was a great goal from Macca. He loves scor­ing in front of the cam­eras and that was a fan­tas­tic ef­fort. It was al­ways go­ing to take some­thing like that to win it.

“I’m de­lighted with the clean sheet against a side that is di­rect and a threat at set­pieces.”

A de­fi­ant com­bi­na­tion of goal­keeper Chris Kirk­land and defender Miguel Llera de­nied Posh a tenth minute lead. The for­mer Eng­land stop­per par­ried from both Lee Tom­lin and Dwight Gayle be­fore Llera pre­vented Gayle from con­vert­ing the loose ball.

Wed­nes­day then had the bet­ter of the first half with Giles Coke forc­ing Bobby Ole­jnik into a div­ing save and Michael Bost­wick pro­duc­ing a bril­liant last ditch block to deny Seyi Olofin­jana’s vol­ley.

Amid a steady stream of Owls cor­ners, skip­per An­thony Gard­ner headed into the side net­ting from be­yond the far post from Danny Pugh’s 44th-minute flag kick.

McCann’s break­through came af­ter Posh raised the tempo af­ter the break with wide man Nathaniel MendezLaing at last get­ting into the game.

Both Owls cen­tral de­fend­ers Llera and Gard­ner saw yel­low in quick suc­ces­sion, the lat­ter’s in­dis­cre­tion be­ing em­phat­i­cally pun­ished by McCann, whose curl­ing 25yard free-kick from wide on the right was as bril­liant as it was price­less.

Chris Maguire fired waste­fully over for Wed­nes­day but Posh’s rapier-like raids threat­ened a sec­ond as Dwight Gayle was inches away from a point blank touch to a Men­dez-Laing cross and Lee Tom­lin tested Kirk­land at his near post be­fore send­ing a thrilling vol­ley just over.

Wed­nes­day launched a furious fin­ish in which sub­sti­tute Leroy Lita should have snatched an 85th minute equaliser. His ini­tial drive was par­ried by Ole­jnik be­fore he held his head in his hands af­ter fir­ing the re­bound wildly wide, leav­ing Owls boss Dave Jones to rue his side’s mis­for­tune.

“I didn’t think they played any bet­ter than us; but they had the break and that proved de­ci­sive,” he said. “I’m dis­ap­pointed be­cause we didn’t make the most of our op­por­tu­ni­ties when they came our way.

“The is­sue (Cham­pi­onship sur­vival) is still in our hands. We need to per­form against Boro on the fi­nal day.

“I’ve said all along that sur­viv­ing in the Cham­pi­onship this sea­son would be a bet­ter achieve­ment than get­ting pro­mo­tion from League One.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HIGH FIVE: Grant McCann, left, cel­e­brates his stun­ning win­ner for Peter­bor­ough

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