Victor Adeboyejo got back on the goal trail as Wanderers dug deep to negotiate 45 minutes with 10 men and secure a morale-boosting point against The Posh, writes Pete Oliver.
The injury-stretched Whites were left to play the second half a man down following the controversial dismissal of stand-in skipper Gethin Jones.
Ian Evatt’s men had already countered an opener from Jonson Clarke-Harris through Adeboyejo’s fifth goal of the season just before Jones was shown red for a touchline foul on Ricky Jade-Jones.
And with the crowd fully behind them, they then produced an outstanding second-half rearguard action full of fighting spirit to keep Peterborough at bay and still a place below the Whites on the edge of the top six in the League One table.
With injuries continuing to bite and the suspended Eoin Toal joining captain Ricardo Almeida Santos amongst those on the sidelines, Wanderers made two changes to their back line as Jack Iredale and Will Forrester lined up alongside Jones.
It was Forrester’s full league debut in a Whites’ shirt and the former Port Vale man rose magnificently to the challenge as he looked to combat the considerable threat of Clarke-Harris.
Peterborough, as is their way, were dangerous going forward, with pace out wide to supplement the central thrust of their big striker.
Nathan Baxter had to save a close-range effort from Jade-Jones – who was also denied by a superb defensive block from Jones – and a volley from Clarke-Harris, while Harrison Edwards whistled an effort just inches wide.
But Wanderers also went close to taking the lead themselves from some impressive passages of play and inventive set-pieces in an entertaining game in front of a fantastic Community Day crowd of over 21,000.
Adeboyejo worried the Posh defence as he fired wide early on and then a clever free-kick dummied by Randell Williams allowed George Thomason to curl in an effort that had Nicholas Bilokapic scrambling to save.
Dion Charles – who scored a quick-fire hat-trick as Wanderers celebrated their 5000th league game with a 5-0 win at Peterborough last season – was passed fit to play following a shoulder injury and the top scorer almost headed the Whites in front after half-an-hour from a Josh Sheehan corner.
Iredale then did likewise from a Williams’ delivery from the opposite flank, but Wanderers suddenly had to come from behind when Clarke-Harris rose highest to nod in a Harrison Burrows’ cross four minutes before the break.
The response took less than a minute and was just what Wanderers – and Adeboyejo – needed.
The striker had been guilty of a couple of misses as the Whites lost for just the second time in the league this season at Reading a week earlier but this time he made no mistake as he forced the ball home after Josh Dacres-Cogley’s dangerous cross was parried by Bilokapic.
That might have been the end of the drama for the first half but, instead, Wanderers were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Jones was dismissed.
The defender clearly caught Jade-Jones with a mis-timed tackle right on the touchline but Jones and Wanderers were initially stunned to see a red card shown by referee Ross Joyce.
The decision meant a half-time re-shuffle from Evatt as Wanderers went to a 4-4-1 line-up in a bid to stay in the contest.
It was backs-to-the-wall stuff as Forrester and Iredale partnered up in central defence and the Whites’ resolute back line was almost breached with an hour gone.
The Wanderers’ bench was less than impressed with Burrows’ role in the sending-off – Evatt earning a yellow card for his part in proceedings – and it was the Posh defender who almost restored his side’s lead with an effort which hit the post.
Wanderers limited the visitors’ chances, though, as they defended superbly and Baxter wasn’t called into serious action again until the 71st minute when he dived to turn away an effort from substitute Joel Randall.
Evatt changed his front men to provide some fresh legs as Wanderers looked to counter when they could and an excellent low cross from Sheehan almost found a way through as Peterborough were forced into some desperate defending.
With Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Dan Nlundulu providing a renewed presence up front Wanderers were now the ones asking questions, although they couldn’t make the most of a trio of corners as they looked for the one big chance that could make a difference.
Peterborough inevitably found openings as Burrows again rattled a post and the impressive Baxter saved another effort from Randall.
But Wanderers refused to buckle and with a steely determination not to suffer back-to-back defeats made sure they would put another point on the board with a spirit that bodes well for the battles to come to remain just two outside the early play-off places with a game in hand.
Wanderers: Baxter; Jones, Forrester, Iredale; Thomason; Dacres-Cogley, Sheehan (Morley 92), Dempsey, Williams; Adeboyejo (Nlundulu 64), Charles (Bodvarsson 73). Substitutes: Hutchinson, Morley, Jerome, Khumbeni, Matheson.
Booked: Iredale, Dacres-Cogley, Dempsey, Thomason.
Sent off: Jones.
Peterborough: Bilokapic; Kioso, Knight, Edwards, Burrows; Kyprainou, Collins; Poku, Mason-Clark (Wakeling 85), Jade-Jones (Randall 69); Clarke-Harrius. Substitutes: Talley, Katongo, Crichlow, De Havilland, Randall, Sturge, Wakeling.
Booked: Kioso, Collins
Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 21,380 (805 Peterborough)