SUPER sub Ishmael Miller came up trumps for Middlesbrough on Saturday – to leave Boro boss Tony Mowbray breathing a sigh of relief.
Miller sealed three precious points for promotion-chasing Boro, slamming in a 76th-minute winner, just three minutes after his introduction.
Boro had earlier seen Faris Haroun’s early brace wiped out as Peterborough’s on-loan striker Dwight Gayle struck twice.
Mowbray admitted he was fearing the worst after seeing the Teessiders throw away a two-goal lead, but Miller’s low 20-yard strike, which caught out goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik, secured the points.
Mowbray said: “We came here to win, we would have been disappointed to draw and yet we could even have lost.
“It was all about the three points and we got them in the end.
“We set up to play on the counter-attack and after 25 minutes it looked like the right tactic, but we didn’t go on to dominate the game in the way we should.
“A fantastic goal brought Peterborough back into it and a sloppy one got them level, but I’m thankful our changes worked well.
“Ishmael was a real thorn in Peterborough’s side. He was unlucky not to play from the start but showed his hunger to help the team by coming on and doing the business.
“The fact that Peterborough are bottom shows just how strong the Championship is as a league.”
Boro hit the front when Haroun was left unattended to provide the finishing touch to a ninth-minute breakaway launched by a glorious Emmanuel Ledesma pass.
Eleven minutes later, the Belgian was celebrating again after again slipping through Posh’s defence to convert a Stuart Parnaby cross at the back post.
But any thoughts of a cakewalk for the promotion-chasers were soon dismissed as Gayle – borrowed from Dagenham & Redbridge – halved the hosts’ arrears with a rasping long-range blast.
Gayle levelled, pouncing from close range after a Michael Bostwick header from Lee Tomlin’s corner had fallen perfectly for him.
Posh boss Darren Ferguson felt his side could have gone on to claim victory, but they ended up being beaten for the ninth time in 11 home games thanks to Miller’s goal and Olejnik’s error.
Ferguson said: “Tony is an honest man and he will know his team have been fortunate to leave with a win.
“When we equalised I felt sure there would only be one winner, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we deserved to win it but we have conceded three very poor goals – one from our own corner, one when we have failed to pick up a man at the back post and the third from a goalkeeping mistake.”
Peterborough United: Olejnik, Zakuani, Little, Bostwick, Rowe (Ferdinand 78’), Newell, Knight-Percival (Swanson 90’), Thorne, Tomlin, Boyd, Gayle. Subs: Day, Alcock, Brisley, Swanson, McCann, Kearns, Ferdinand
Middlesbrough: Steele, Bikey, Parnaby, Woodgate, Leadbitter, McEachran (Thomson 78’), Halliday, Haroun (Smallwood 69’), Emnes (Miller 73’), Ledesma, McDonald. Subs: Leutwiler, Hines, Bailey, Jutkiewicz.
Ref: Carl Berry Att: 6,612.