Darren Ferguson was relieved to see his Peterborough side progress in the FA Cup following a 2-0 victory over Stevenage at the Weston Homes Stadium.
Mo Eisa’s 13th goal of the season coupled with youngster Ricky-Jade Jones’ injury-time strike proved the difference in the tie.
Posh will now host National League side Dover in the second round.
“We got off to a perfect start, but it almost became the opposite of what I wanted us to do,” explained Ferguson.
“We were sloppy and careless and I think some of our players seemed to just expect things to happen.
“It’s another home win and another clean sheet, but there are certainly aspects of that performance we need to improve on.
“Yes the big positive is obviously that we’re into the second round, but the game wasn’t one where we deserved to win by more than two goals. It was stretched at times but thankfully Ricky-Jade (Jones) came up with the goods again and he’ll be pushing for a start in the league now.”
After a scrappy opening Ivan Toney found Eisa on the edge of the area and he fired the hosts ahead in the 11th minute.
Posh almost added a second five minutes before the interval when Eisa connected with Marcus Maddison’s cross, but Paul Farman pulled off a fine save to divert the ball over for a corner.
After the break Elliott List had the visitors’ best chance in the 65th minute but Christy Pym got down well low to his left to keep it out.
At the other end there was a let off for Stevenage when Ben Nugent almost diverted Dan Butler’s cross into his own net, but the ball flew behind for a corner.
Farman made a number of excellent saves both with his hands and his chest as his team-mates committed men forward looking to snatch an equaliser.
Jones finally put the game beyond doubt though by slotting home three minutes into injury time after linking up with Maddison and Toney on the break.
Stevenage caretaker boss Mark Sampson was proud of his players despite the defeat.
“The resilience, determination and character we showed was outstanding,” he enthused.
“To press a good team like Peterborough at their home ground in the way we did took some real belief and work ethic.
“We were dominant at times, but it just wouldn’t go in for us and as result we have a group of shattered and deflated individuals who deserved to go through over the two ties.
“Tonight we had to commit bodies forward – you have to do that when you’re losing in the FA Cup – and that left us open to counter attacks, but defensively we coped with that quite well.”