POSH ALMOST HIGH AND DRY
PETERBORO’....1 SHEFF WED ......0
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.”
HIGH FIVE: Grant McCann, left, celebrates his stunning winner for Peterborough