Peterborough earned a fine FA Cup draw at West Brom
GRAHAM WESTLEY is no stranger to cup upsets, and the Peterborough boss hopes his latest will stand his young team in good stead for the remainder of the season.
The scene was set for a surprise, considering just one team in the country have scored more goals than Peterborough this season and West Brom had been struggling to find the back of the net.
But it looked like Saido Berahino’s early strike would be all that separated the sides until three goals in eight frantic minutes earned the League One promotion hopefuls another chance at the ABAX Stadium next month.
Shaquile Coulthirst equalised after 79 minutes but Berahino quickly restored West Brom’s lead before substitute Jon Taylor levelled things up again with four minutes remaining.
Westley, who upset Darlington with Farnborough in 2003 and five years ago masterminded Stevenage’s shock win over Newcastle, thinks the 2-2 draw will give his players confidence.
“It’s right up there with the Darlington and Newcastle games right now,” said Westley. “The most pleasing thing is that a lot of young players have really grown up this afternoon and got some self belief.
“They have gone toe-to-toe with some serious players and worked really hard and it gives you the self-belief you can take with you for the rest of the season – the rest of your career. Some of our lads will have seen just how good they can be as players and that’s really important for a team.”
Peterborough looked overawed early on and were becoming their own worst enemy, with defensive mistakes leading to chances for West Brom, including Berahino’s opening goal, although the finish from 25 yards out was Premier League quality.
Posh cut out the silly mistakes in the second half and got a foothold in the tie. With 11 minutes remaining, after failing to capitalise on Peterborough’s defensive errors in the first half, West Brom were punished for one of their own.
A long ball forward caused hesitancy between Sebastien Pocognoli and Boaz Myhill and Coulthirst took advantage to score.
Parity lasted just five minutes though as Berahino finished clinically inside the area, but Taylor found the bottom corner of the net with a shot from the edge of the area in the 86th minute.
Westley said: “I would be a liar if I said I thought it wasn’t a difficult moment when he scored the second goal, but as I saw our players walk back to the halfway line – and we’ve talked a lot this week about desire and determination and what it takes to be truly successful – I saw real appetite in their eyes.
“They still meant business. Our work thereafter was good and it was a deserved equaliser.”
For the second round running West Brom drew 2-2 at home with a lower league team.
They overcame Bristol City in a third-round replay and manager Tony Pulis said: “It’s disappointing but that’s cup football.
“We led twice and the longer the game goes on it only takes one mistake to bring them back into it.
“Obviously then Bo and Poco have left it for one another from a long ball and their man has stepped in.
“Peterborough were brilliant and worked hard and kept going, but I didn’t really have my heart in my mouth at all. We’ve been undone by two long, diagonal balls.”
TAYLOR MADE: Peterborough’s Jon Taylor lashes the ball home from the edge of the area to earn the League One side a replay