FA Cup 4th Round - West Bromwich Albion 1 Peterborough 1
After their FA Cup exploits of last season, getting ‘up for the cup’ isn’t a problem you would associate with West Bromwich Albion but Tony Mowbray’s side produced a below-par performance against Peterborough and now face an uncomfortable replay at London Road.
The League One side were the better side in the first half and they were rewarded for their endeavour when hot-shot striker Craig Makail-Smith stabbed home a deserved equaliser in the 87th minute to cancel out Jonas Olsson’s 64th minute opener.
Besides a 20-minute spell at the start of the second period, Albion were lacking a spark and it wasn’t just the players. The Hawthorns, which has been vocal and partisan in the Premier League, was quiet and subdued and while Mowbray wasn’t making excuses, he felt the lack of atmosphere from the home crowd was a factor.
“There was a different atmosphere in the stadium,” he said. “I think the FA Cup doesn’t reach the same intensity as the Premier League and you sometimes have to create that intensity on the field and that can be difficult for the players. The stadium is not full like it is every week.”
Mowbray was quick to praise Darren Ferguson’s side, and rightly so. In Makail-Smith, strike partner Aaron McLean and left winger George Boyd, they have an attacking axis that many Championship sides would envy, let alone their League One rivals. The trio have scored 36 goals between them so far this season, with Mackail-Smith contributing half of that total, so it was no surprise that they gave Albion plenty of problems.
Makail-Smith struck the post in the 21st minute and McLean also tested Scott Carson with a snap shot from inside the area as Posh had the better of the first half.
Albion looked to have finally asserted themselves after the half-time interval and when Olsson out-jumped the Peterborough defence to head home a Jonathan Greening corner, it appeared that the spirit of the plucky visitors would be broken and Mowbray’s men would go on to claim a comfortable passage into the fourth round.
However, that simply wasn’t the case and when Makail-Smith slid in to convert McLean’s low cross into the six-yard box there looked to be another shock on the cards.
McLean could then have won it with a left-foot drive from the edge of the area that fizzed past the post and Boyd’s curling shot cannoned back off the net stantion behind the goal.
“We can’t have any complaints,” Mowbray said. “Peterborough worked very hard and played to their strengths, and good luck to them, they got a late equaliser.
“I couldn’t really see them scoring. They were putting the ball forward very early and asking questions but I don’t think we were threatened too much.
“Yet it only takes a second to score and they were forcing the game, and they deserved their equaliser.
“Now we have to go to London Road again and try and get a positive result like we have done the last two times.”