MIDDLESBROUGH fans were put through the emotional wringer as the Teessiders squandered a two-goal lead before dramatically earning victory at rock-bottom Peterborough.
The Teessiders were cruising after Faris Haroun scored twice in the first 20 minutes against relegation haunted Posh and the game – and the points – seemed gift wrapped.
Then Boro suffered the jitters as the basement boys pulled one back before the break then levelled and piled on the pressure – only for Ishmael Miller to crack home a winner, which prompted sighs of relief.
Self-confessed pessimist Tony Mowbray insisted he always expected his side would have to dig deep to resist a fight-back.
He said: “We scored the two goals, but I never really expected the floodgates to open at that point.
“It is never as easy as that. Managers tend to have a pessimistic view of a match until the final whistle blows.
“I always knew they would create chances.
“We came here geared up to win and, yes, it was far to close for comfort and we left relieved we had the points because, let’s be honest, we could have lost.
“They were a constant threat as we expected, and that’s why we set up to counter-attack.
“For the first 20 minutes that looked a good decision on our part. Ours were two very good goals.
“Yet they forced us back and got into the game, before Miller won it with a bit of magic.”
Boro made hard work of it, but ended the wobble of three defeats in four which had seen them lose momentum at the top.
Mowbray inisted the recent results showed how tight things are in the cut-throat division – and that Boro are well placed.
He added: “The fact Peterborough are bottom shows just how strong the Championship is as a league. It is all about those fine margins.
“If we’d have beaten Cardiff – and we could easily have done that because we dominated that game for long spells – then we’d be top now.
“No matter what people think about the performance, we have scored three goals away from home and won.
“”Alright, we didn’t pound their goal but we won – and we did it on a day when Crystal Palace and Leicester dropped points and few of the teams around us lost ground. We need to keep everyone believeing we are a team up there and challenging and striving to catch the teams at the top.”