Foster shoot-out heroics keep West Brom hopes alive
Peterborough United West Bromwich Albion underdogs in front early in the second half. After extra-time had failed to produce a decisive moment, Fletcher missed his penalty. But England goalkeeper Ben Foster saved from Martin Samuelsen and Lee Angol to put Tony Pulis’s side through to a tie at Reading. The Albion manager was magnanimous in victory, preferring to talk up the opposition rather than dwell on his own side’s performance. “You have to give credit to Peterborough,” he said. “For a team from a couple of leagues lower than us, the way they approached the game and the way they played was fantastic.” None the less, after seeing his side let a winning position slip through their grasp when these sides met at the Hawthorns, it was another uncomfortable night for Pulis, who has come under increasing criticism from supporters over what some perceive as negative, even boring, tactics. Their approach could hardly find a greater contrast in Peterborough, whose attacking philosophy under Graham Westley has made them one of the more attractive lower-division sides. Their positive intent was obvious from the start, with midfielder Harry Beautyman denied twice in the first 20 minutes, first by James Chester’s block, then by Foster, whose experience helped cover for the problems Pulis faced in assembling a defence. An injury to Gareth McAuley, who pulled a hamstring after only 19 minutes, did not help. Towards the end of the first half, Saido Berahino was narrowly wide with a volley from 20 yards and Chester, unmarked, missed the chance to put his side ahead. Yet Peterborough imposed themselves again at the start of the second half, which brought the goal that put them in front after 55 minutes, scored by Taylor with a shot from around 15 yards after Angol had intercepted a misdirected pass. But just as an upset began to look a real possibility, Albion were back on level terms through a fine goal by Fletcher, who seized on a halfclearance to rifle the ball home from the edge of the box. In extra time, the eye-catching Samuelsen, the 18-year-old Norwegian on loan from West Ham, and substitute Marcus Maddison went close for Peterborough, the latter with an audacious lob. At the other end, Craig Gardner had a shot headed off the line and Berahino missed an open goal with a header from a Gardner cross.