Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray breathed a sigh of relief after an inspired substitution ensured his men survived a scare as they ran out 3-2 winners at rock-bottom Peterborough.
- Related Content
Ishmael Miller sealed victory for promotion-chasing Boro in the npower Championship encounter at London Road by 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 his side 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.
And 11 minutes later the Belgian was celebrating again after again slipping through the Posh defensive net 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 by Posh from Dagenham & Redbridge until January - halved the hosts' arrears eight minutes before the break with a rasping long-range blast.
And seven minutes into the second period Gayle struck again, 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.
"But there are a lot of positives to take from our performance and we'll certainly win games if playing to that standard on a regular basis.
"We have 25 matches to turn our season around."