Peterborough United are now six points clear of the chasing pack with five games to play after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Gillingham at London Road in front of over 6,500 fans.
The visitors squandered a fine opportunity inside the opening 10 minutes as a mistake in possession from Jack Baldwin allowed Myles Weston to get himself into a presentable shooting opportunity, but he sliced horribly wide with his left-foot.
Goalkeeper Nelson clawed away an effort from Jack Baldwin at the back post following the first corner kick of the evening before the visitors were forced into an early change as one-time Posh star Charlie Lee replaced the injured Inniss.
Nicky Ajose was denied at the back post by a fine block after good work in the approach play by Conor Washington on 17 minutes. Payne was superbly denied on 25 minutes by Nelson after letting fly from distance, while at the other end, Weston dragged a left-foot shot wide of the near post after cutting inside.
Olejnik superbly denied McDonald before Barrett went into the referee's book for a late tackle on Payne. On 42 minutes, Posh found the breakthrough as Ntlhe's header caused confusion and Britt ASSOMBALONGA fired home from six-yards with his left-foot for his 30th goal of the season.
Olejnik superbly denied McDonald moments after the break, pushing his chip over the bar. At the other end, a lightening quick counter attack involving Swanson and Little ended with the former testing Nelson who was up to the challenge, diving to his left to save.
Swanson sent a curler just past the upright after his initial corner was cleared as Posh pressed for a second goal. Washington fired wide of the near post after bursting into the box from the left on 56 minutes.
On 58 minutes, Posh got the second goal their play, particularly at the start of the second half, deserved as skipper Tommy ROWE crashed home a fine left-foot strike from 20-yards in off the underside of the crossbar.
Posh were awarded a penalty on 63 minutes as Assombalonga was felled in the box by Gregory, but the striker's penalty was weak and Nelson made a comfortable stop.
That miss lifted the visitors and Nugent had to produce a stunning last gasp tackle to deny McDonald who was racing clear. On 73 minutes, Joe Martin, who scored a free-kick in the fixture earlier in the campaign, floated a free kick over the bar.
On 79 minutes, Assombalonga had the chance to kill the game off again, but he was once again denied by Nelson who did well to save after good work from Little and Ajose on a swift Posh counter attack.
Assombalonga headed against the bar after a lobbed cross from Ajose after the latter linked well with Swanson down the right hand side.
Craig Alcock replaced Kgosi Ntlhe on 83 minutes as Darren Ferguson made his first switch at left-back. Barrett headed a corner kick wide of the target on 87 minutes for the visitors.
Final Score: Posh 2-0 Gillingham
Posh: Olejnik, Ntlhe (sub Alcock 83min), Baldwin, Nugent, Little, Rowe, Payne, Swanson, Ajose, Washington, Assombalonga. Unused subs: Day, Brisley, Bostwick, Vassell, Conlon, McQuoid.
Gillingham: Nelson, Martin, Linganzi (sub Akinfenwa 46min), McDonald, Weston, Gregory, Dack (sub Smith 65min), Harriman, Inniss (sub Lee 14min) , Barrett, Hewitt. Unused subs: Baxter, Birchall, Fagan, Hessenthaler.
Attendance: 6,543 (254 Gillingham fans)