Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson praised his promotion-chasing team’s defensive performance following their 2-0 victory over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Ferguson spoke out after a first-half volley from Joel Randall and substitute Ricky Jade-Jones’s classy stoppage-time gave the Posh a morale-boosting victory as they get ready for the play-offs.

“I told the players that clean sheets will end up getting us promoted and it really is as simple as that,” Ferguson said.

“That’s why I enjoyed that win a lot and I’m really pleased with the players, especially in terms of what we did out of possession.

“I asked them to be more solid and compact and they did that really well and were really well organised. We limited them to next to no clear-cut chances.

“Keeping clean sheets is not simple to do and that’s why we had a good meeting before the game when we went through everything in detail.

“We looked back at some of the chances we’ve been giving up so and I asked them to be more connected and the players deserve lots of credit as they were outstanding.”

Ferguson was also pleased with his goal-scorers after Randall took his personal tally of goals to 11 while Jones now has 13 goals to his name.

“I still had one eye on if Derby slipped up and we were getting told about the Derby score but we just had to concentrate on our jobs here,” Ferguson added.

“After the first 10 minutes we got control and some of our football was outstanding.

“I was especially pleased with Joel because we’d been asking the team to team to get more bodies into the box to support our striker Jonson Clarke-Harris. And with Ricky we’d been asking him to get in front of his man more so it was really pleasing when he made the points safe.”

Rovers manager Matt Taylor said the result highlighted his team’s shortcomings.

“Their physicality was one thing that stood out for me,” Taylor said. “They were not only able to wriggle out of but drive out of certain situations and it showed there’s a real need for a added profile to this group.

“We have some fantastic ball players but speed, pace and power are other huge assets at this level and they had both the ball players and that today which is why they are such a good team.”

Taylor, who was without suspended striker Chris Martin, added: “We didn’t get close enough to man and ball often enough in the first half and we gave them too much respect certainly in the deeper layers of the pitch.

“They were able to go through the pitch on the back of it and it was a poor opening goal to concede. We forced more moments after the break but it didn’t materialise in the box.”

Fleetwood boss Charlie Adam admitted his side were masters of their own downfall after being left on the brink of relegation from League One following a 4-1 defeat at Peterborough.

The Cod Army are facing up to a future in League Two after being left six points from safety with just two games to go.

They only have themselves to blame after Promise Omochere and Bosun Lawal both missed penalties before Adam’s men were put to the sword by play-off bound Posh.

Lawal fired Fleetwood ahead after just 13 seconds and then earned the ninth-minute penalty that Omochere saw saved by Posh keeper Jed Steer.

Malik Mothersille fired Posh level with his first English Football League goal and the game was still in the balance when Lawal was denied from the spot by Steer with 15 minutes to go.

Posh then took command with Archie Collins’ 81st-minute strike being followed by a stoppage-time brace from substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Adam admitted: “I’m gutted for the players and supporters. That performance did not deserve that result.

“To come here and show the character that we did, I’m really proud of the players, but we walk away extremely disappointed.

“We had the perfect start, but when you get big moments in games you have to take them and we have missed two penalties.

“The two lads stepped up and were brave enough to take them, but unfortunately for us they missed them.

“The dressing room is quiet and flat. Of course it’s going to be as we’re in a position we don’t want to be.

“We have to win two games and see where we are at the end of the season.

“The lads will be off tomorrow, we’ll come back in Thursday and prepare as we always do. The challenge is to finish on two positive results to take into next season.”

Peterborough are six points off the automatic-promotion spots with a game in hand.

Boss Darren Ferguson said: “Starting the game in the way we did – conceding a goal like that without even touching the ball – is bordering on the unprofessional.

“I never felt comfortable throughout the game, but we managed to get the reaction we wanted from Saturday by winning the game.

“If I was Charlie I would be really disappointed with the two penalties as they’ve both been pretty comfortable saves for Jed. It was a case of getting out of jail really for us.

“Jonno came on, set one up and scored two; Jed made the two penalty saves; Malik came in and scored so there were positives for sure, but there are things we have to tidy up.

“We’re in the play-offs now and another point secures us being at home in the second leg.

“Second place is obviously Derby’s to throw away but football works in many strange ways and they still need a win.”

Paul Simpson hailed hat-trick hero Jon Mellish after Carlisle produced one of the shocks of the season in Sky Bet League One.

Matchwinner Mellish bagged a first career hat-trick as the basement boys left Posh’s automatic promotion hopes in tatters with just their sixth win of a miserable season.

Mellish headed Simpson’s men into a 27th-minute lead, which he doubled with a smart volley three minutes into the second half.

The midfield ace completed his treble just before the hour with another spectacular volley before captain Harrison Burrows pulled a goal back for the hosts.

Substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris hit the bar late on as Darren Ferguson’s high-fliers flopped to fall 10 points behind the top two.

Simpson said: “I’m absolutely delighted for the players and the staff but even more happy for the supporters who made the long journey.

“The lads deserve huge credit for the way they went about it and they were three fantastic finishes from Jon. It’s a brilliant win and it’s all about getting some respect and pride back.

“I told Jon I wanted him to get his crazy legs going and cause problems and everyone saw that is what he did!

“We were brave to go short with our first corner and it led to Jon getting himself a free header for a good goal and the next two are fantastic finishes.

“And when we had to change to a back-five to shore things up, he slotted in at centre-back and did a good job.

“He’s an important player for us and he’s had a tough season in terms of goals as he usually gets a lot more, but a hat-trick like this is a great reward.”

Stunned Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson said: “It’s a terrible result and I’m very disappointed.

“How do I explain today? Probably the best way is that collectively we had an off-day and I include myself in that.

“Forget about league tables and how many points you have – if a team performs like we did today they will get beaten.

“We conceded three really soft goals and the lack of quality in the last third is not something I’ve seen from my players this season.

“You can get away with it when two or three players aren’t at it – but not when we all got a three out of 10.

“Maybe I gave the lads too many days off and maybe I could have made changes sooner. These are all things I have to question before I look at the level of performance.

“We’ve got a mountain to climb to get into the top two, but I’m experienced enough to know there is no reason to press the panic button.”

Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson praised his bench after two late goals finally saw off Burton in a 3-1 win for Posh at the Pirelli Stadium.

The game had been heading towards a draw after Ricky-Jade Jones’ opener early in the second half had been cancelled by Albion’s Crystal Palace loanee Ademola Ola-Adebomi’s first senior goal from a long throw – but a late two-goal salvo from defender Josh Knight and substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris ultimately sealed victory for Posh.

“The subs have won the game for us, simple as that,” Ferguson said.

“What has been proven today is that we are going to need everyone. Jonno has come on, scored one and set one up and Malik [Mothersille] has set one up.

“Ricky’s is a real striker’s goal and he needs more of those, but that is 12 for the season for him now and once he started making the runs we wanted him to we started stretching them a bit more and got on top. Then it is about getting the next goal but unfortunately, they got that.”

Posh are now on a five-game winning run, which has seen them solidify a play-off spot and reach Wembley in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

And Ferguson said: “At this stage of the season it is just about getting wins and another three goals is just fantastic. I am delighted with that but I always felt, in my own head, that March was going to be a pivotal month for us and we have started it really well.”

Albion stay five points clear of relegation despite the loss, but the Brewers are now the closest team to the bottom four with manager Martin Paterson ruing missed chances that cost his side dear.

“In terms of effort I can’t ask any more of them,” Paterson said post-match. “Ultimately you can look at it and they had 14 shots to our 12 so in the cold light of day the story is that they stuck the ball in the net and we didn’t.”

Ola-Adebomi’s goal gave Albion parity after Deji Oshilaja had earlier seen a header hit the post but Albion squandered opportunities.

“We had moments and chances but we didn’t punish them. Ultimately, we didn’t score the goals that were required,” the Burton boss added.

“I think everybody had us down for a defeat today but because of the performance, in parts, we should have got something from the game. It’s a sickener but I have to take it on the chin.”

Albion now face two tough games on the road, starting with a trip to leaders Portsmouth.

Paterson said: “We gave up goals today that were uncharacteristic for us and now we have to go away from home for two games and pick up points. And that is a necessity.”

Peterborough swept to a fourth straight win as late goals from Josh Knight and substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris sealed a 3-1 win at Burton.

Albion looked to be on for a hard-earned point when Crystal Palace loanee Ademola Ola-Adebomi’s first senior goal cancelled out Ricky-Jade Jones’ opener.

A tight first half saw chances at a premium. Max Crocombe in the Burton goal had a make a sharp stop with his feet to deny Jones whilst a low save to deny Joel Randall was more comfortable for the Burton stopper.

Tolaji Bola blocked a close-range effort from Randall as Posh began to threaten but it was Albion who spurned the best chance of the half when Bobby Kamwa fired over from close range after good work from Joe Hugill on the right.

Posh went through the gears early in the second half and carved out the breakthrough when Jones glanced a header over Crocombe from Harrison Burrows’ cross.

Deji Oshilaja saw a header come back off the post before Albion equalised with 20 minutes to go, Ola-Adebomi getting the final touch to guide Tom Hamer’s long throw past Jed Steer.

Albion looked to have secured a vital point until Knight scored with two minutes to go, Clarke-Harris putting the gloss on victory with a stoppage-time finish from close range.

With the transfer window now open, Peterborough United’s Director of Football Barry Fry, has warned prospective buyers that the club will not release Reggae Boy striker Jonson Clarke-Harris cheaply.

Clarke-Harris has been in a good vein of form, which has attracted significant interest and is expected to leave the East England club during the transfer window.

The 29-year-old striker, who claimed the Golden Boot after scoring 26 goals in the previous season, has already netted 10 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions this season.

That, coupled with Clarke-Harris’s positive influence on the club makes him a valuable asset and, as such, Fry is adamant that interested parties will have to dig deep to secure his services.

“He won’t be leaving for peanuts. His scoring record is outstanding, and he’s a great bloke to have around the club, even when he isn’t playing. He’s been unbelievable with the younger players,” Fry stated.

Despite being placed on the transfer list at the end of the last season when Peterborough failed to secure promotion to the Championship, Clarke-Harris’s move to Bristol Rovers for £800,000, fell through late on deadline day in September. However, the striker quickly regained his scoring form for Peterborough, including a notable brace against Mansfield.

While anticipating a potential transfer in January, Clarke-Harris had limited starts in recent months, but made a triumphant return to the starting lineup, with a two-goal performance against Barnsley.

Fry emphasized that Clarke-Harris’s value goes beyond his ability to score goals, as he pointed to the striker’s contributions in crucial moments and his support for younger players.

Though Bristol Rovers have reportedly reduced their interest following the departure of manager Joey Barton, reports suggest that Fleetwood Town could pursue Clarke-Harris’s signature during this transfer window.

Darren Ferguson dished out the plaudits for Jonson Clarke-Harris after his double secured a 2-2 draw against League One promotion rivals Barnsley.

The striker, who is widely expected to leave in January, provided what could be a memorable farewell in front of the home fans by heading in crosses from David Ajiboye and Harrison Burrows either side of the break after a shock recall to the side.

Herbie Kane and top-scorer Devante Cole had earlier put Barnsley in command but they allowed their lead to slip before Corey O’Keeffe and Ephron Mason-Clark both hit the bar.

Mason-Clark also saw a strong penalty appeal ignored in the second half as the game ended level.

Ferguson said: “Jonno knows his time is up at the club as he’s likely to get a move in January.

“He is a great example of someone who has trained well and been great with the younger players.

“I told him yesterday he was going to play as we needed to give Ricky (Jade Jones) a rest and that he has nothing to prove to anyone so to go out and play his normal game.

“There is no striker better than him in the box in the league – simple as that. Once we started getting quality into the box he scored goals.

“I thought he was great tonight and if we had got the penalty – and we must surely be due one – he would have taken it and probably ended up with a hat-trick.

“Tremendous credit goes to all of my players for the character they showed to come from behind. They have determination and desire to not lose games of football.”

Barnsley remain a point outside the play-off places.

Boss Neill Collins said: “I’m really disappointed that we didn’t get rewarded for what was a fantastic performance.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose a goal at the end of that first half given the way we played.

“And to then concede a weak goal at the start of the second half, they are probably the only two negatives.

“I don’t know how Corey’s chance that hit the bar stayed out and we also had other chances against a top team in this division.

“Peterborough have probably been the most dominant team in the league over the last 15 games, but we really made it difficult for them.

“To come here and get a point is always good, but I felt we deserved all three.

“There are obviously things we can improve on, but if we can replicate in the second half of the season what we have done in the first, we’ll be in the play-offs.”

Finn Talley’s sudden death spot-kick save from Connor McLennan earned League One Peterborough a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout win over gallant League Two rivals Salford in their FA Cup replay.

But Darren Ferguson’s side were seconds from a shock first-round exit until substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris equalised in time added on at the end of extra time.

Ammies skipper Alex Cairns then saved two penalties, giving Elliot Watt the chance to win it for the fourth-tier side.

Instead, Watt’s kick hit a post and Archie Collins’ success from 12 yards and Talley’s save sent Posh through to a second-round home meeting with Doncaster.

Only 1,030 were in attendance, but those at Moor Lane were treated to a thrill a minute.

Defender Curtis Tilt headed Salford in front early but Posh hit back through Joel Randall, Ephron Mason-Clark and Collins.

A double interval change, including the substitution of 14-goal top scorer Matt Smith, proved a masterstroke by Salford manager Neil Wood.

Tilt headed in his second of the night from Watt’s corner after 54 minutes to revive Salford hopes.

And the teams were level again seven minutes later as defender Josh Knight turned Conor McAleny’s cross into his own goal.

Stevie Mallan looked to have snatched a famous win for Salford in the 114th minute, before Clarke-Harris earned the visitors a penalty shootout reprieve.

Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson praised his side’s belief after goals from Hector Kyprianou, Jonson Clarke-Harris and Kwame Poku saw them come from behind to win 3-1 at Barnsley.

The home side took the lead through Barry Cotter six minutes after the break before Kyprianou equalised with 16 minutes remaining.

Clarke-Harris struck two minutes later and Poku added a third five minutes from time.

Ferguson said: “From the moment we went behind, I thought we were absolutely outstanding.

“It was a really good game and a good advert for the league. Two really good teams.

“I thought that both teams had moments in the first half. Nick (Bilokapic)’s made a couple of good saves and we’ve probably had the more clear-cut chances.

“I told the players at half-time that we had to be more ruthless.

“We lost a soft goal but the reaction to losing the goal was outstanding.

“Even if we’d lost tonight, with that performance, I wouldn’t have been disappointed.

“I wouldn’t have been as happy but I would have been delighted with the way the players responded after going behind.

“As a manager, I was delighted with the belief that they kept thinking they would get something out of the game and that’s what we did.

“We just kept going and we were relentless. The first goal was fantastic. It was really, really good play and a great finish.

“Then we just stepped on the gas a little bit and managed to win the game.

“Absolutely delighted with the performance of the players. A young team with real belief.

“If you’re going to be successful, you have to come to Barnsley on Tuesday nights and get results and we’ve managed to do that.

“I’m delighted with the amount of chances we created and overall I’m delighted. No-one’s getting carried away – it’s a good start but it’s just a start.”

Barnsley head coach Neill Collins was disappointed to see his side lose their grip on the game after going ahead.

He said: “That will take a little bit of digesting. For everything that we did well for the first 55 minutes, I thought we then proceeded to do the opposite almost.

“Up until that point, the team had been fantastic, both sides of the ball, against a very good side.

“I thought we deservedly took the lead and should probably have been ahead at half-time.

“We came out and felt confident that we could get that goal, but then I’m not quite sure why we then proceeded to lose the cohesion that we had and stopped doing the things that we’d done so well.

“I felt that we just became sporadic and more individualistic at times. Despite a couple of warning signs and the goalkeeper in particular making one fantastic save, the goals were cardinal sins in terms of ones we gave away.”

Peterborough came from behind to win 3-1 at Barnsley with an impressive second-half performance featuring goals from Hector Kyprianou, Jonson Clarke-Harris and Kwame Poku.

Barry Cotter had put the hosts in front six minutes after the break but it only served to spark the visitors into life.

Peterborough’s Ephron Mason-Clark threatened early on, forcing Liam Roberts to make a save.

At the other end, Nicholas Bilokapic was tested by Jon Russell and Nicky Cadden.

Roberts then made another important save, thwarting Randall after he was put through by Kyprianou.

The home side took the lead when Cotter sent in a low driven cross from the right which found its way into the back of the net.

Roberts made fine saves to deny Randall, Poku and Clarke-Harris before Peterborough equalised.

After 74 minutes, Peter Kioso reached the byline and pulled the ball back to Kyprianou, who fired into the far corner of the net.

Clarke-Harris struck two minutes later, netting from close-range following Poku’s scuffed shot.

Poku added a third five minutes from time, firing into the roof of the net after creating space for himself inside the area.

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