SHAUN Williams powered home an injury-time winner as Millwall finally ended their Den hoodoo at the fifth time of asking.
Williams climbed highest in the box to head in Carlos Edwards’ cross and give Neil Harris a much-needed win before the international break.
It was no more than Williams deserved after he had gone close three times to putting his side ahead.
He whistled two efforts wide of either post in the first half and then saw another long-range strike drift just over Ben Alnwick’s crossbar in the second half.
Peterborough had their chances too and Jordan Archer once again came to the Lions’ rescue when he produced a brilliant stop to deny Conor Washington on 51 minutes.
He also had to be at his best to tip Chris Forrester’s close-range shot over the bar minutes later.
Mark Beevers went close in an end-to-end second half as he saw his volley scrape off the outside of Alnwick’s post.
Ed Upson also had a great chance to win it for his side but Alnwick, again, spread himself well to deny the midfielder after he had weaved his way into the box.
And after a flurry of chances late on, Williams finally gave the home support something to shout about just when it looked like penalties beckoned.
Did Harris make wholesale changes after the poor run of home form?
Not really, but it was interesting to see Aiden O’Brien and John Marquis start up front together for the first time this season. It was no surprise that Steve Morison was rested, while Lee Gregory has been struggling for form lately.
O’Brien did well when he came on against Chesterfield and most of the good things Millwall did went through him as they sought an equaliser. He started the deeper of the pair against the Posh and constantly sought to get involved. He could never be faulted for a lack of enthusiasm and was again the link between midfield and attack.
Marquis had two efforts in the first half that he could have made more of but first he shot over from 25 yards before he scuffed a weak shot at Alnwick when he could maybe have squared the ball for his strike partner.
Edwards also started his first game for almost a year at right-back and though he gave the ball away a few times he certainly didn’t look like a 36-year-old recovering from such a serious injury. He also offers a better defensive positioning sense than Shaun Cummings.
A smaller crowd took some pressure off the players
There were times when you could hear what the players were saying to each other. It was very quiet, which is understandable.
At one point Marquis berated Beevers for not playing a long ball quicker and the players did look more relaxed, though it often felt more like a pre-season friendly with some pedestrian sequences of play.
Williams, one of the players who’s been on the brunt of the home fans’ criticism this season, certainly played with a bit more confidence and he came closest to scoring for Millwall in the first half with those two efforts from long range. There was also a bit of magical footwork in midfield in the first period that showcased the skill Lions fans don’t get to see often enough.
He went close again with a 30 yarder in the second half before he finally got the clincher.
Archer was once again on top form
He found himself the senior keeper in the squad with 17-year-old Harry Girling on the bench – and he looked every inch the experienced pro.
His positioning under crosses was excellent and, for the third game in a row, he produced a brilliant one-on-one stop to deny Washington. There was something Schmeichel-esque in the way he came out and made every bit of his frame count to divert the ball away.
While that was a positive, it still highlighted that Millwall are vulnerable just after they have lost the ball.
Archer is quick to sense danger, though, and, with just 2,050 in the ground, one could also hear him command his box and let his defenders know when he was coming to claim possession.