West Brom 1 Posh 1
It wasn`t quite Arsenal and 1965 all over again but it came damn close.
The sight of 4500 Posh fans wildly celebrating after Craig Mackail-Smith had given us a late, late equaliser will live long in the mind.
After succumbing to West Brom, twice, in domestic cup competitions last season, the performance today was either a major indication of how far we`ve progressed or how West Brom have slipped backwards after getting promotion last season, I prefer to think the latter.
Tony Mowbray showed his intentions with regards to the FA Cup by playing a full strength team apart form those that were injured. Darren Ferguson, on the other hand, kept a subtle eye on the forthcoming League One clash with MK Dons on Tuesday, and rested Tommy Williams knowing his suspect knee wouldn`t hold up to two games in close to four days.
As expected, Gabriel Zakuani was restored to the defence with Charlie Lee, who had filled in more than adequately during Gaby`s absence also in the starting eleven.
The first half saw Posh deliver a cultured performance and even any neutrals watching would have been impressed with our performance. The highlight of the half came at the midway point when Mackail-Smith shrugged off a challenge and saw his shot rebound to safety off of the post. So close but so far. An intense period of pressure also saw Posh force four corners in a little over a minute as that vital breakthrough was sought.
Unfortunately, it wasn`t to be as our hosts held out until half time. Had we missed our golden opportunity?
The second half saw Mowbray introduce Jay Simpson, the Arsenal starlet who had been tracked by Posh for several months, surely fate wouldn`t be that cruel to us.
As it turned out West Brom looked to have upped the ante after half time and in the sixty-fourth minute they reaped their reward. The Posh defence was caught napping when the Swedish defender, Olsson, glanced in a header at the near post.
All credit to Posh though because the heads didn`t drop and they continued to push forward in search of an equaliser. The fact it didn`t come until the eighty-seventh minute made it even more exquisite. Aaron McLean slipped a great ball through and Mackail-Smith swept it home from close range.
Forget your 'Boing Boing` chant the Hawthorns was rocking to the sound of the Posh faithful as we went for a dramatic late winner. It wasn`t to come and we know the additional fixture could well be viewed as a pain in the arse but what a night it`s going to be back at London Road on Tuesday January 13th!