Mackail-Smith earns Posh replay
Craig Mackail-Smith snatched a late equaliser for Peterborough to earn a third-round replay against West Brom.
Last Updated: 03/01/09 7:52pm
Craig Mackail-Smith snatched a late equaliser for Peterborough to earn a deserved third-round replay against West Brom.
The League One side had been by far the better side throughout the match despite Baggies boss Tony Mowbray fielding his strongest available side.
Mackail-Smith had already rattled the woodwork early on in the game and came close to levelling the scoreline after Jonas Olsson headed home just after the hour mark.
The 24-year-old, though, got the equaliser he sought with minutes remaining after finishing a low cross from Aaron McLean.
Olsson, the £800,000 summer capture from Heerenveen, broke the deadlock when he headed home a corner from skipper Jonathan Greening.
But Mackail-Smith had been a handful throughout, striking the crossbar and then heading wide with the goal at his mercy before hitting the target.
Albion, who had completed a Carling Cup and FA Cup double over Posh last season, did most of the early pressing against their League One opponents.
Chris Brunt got on the end of a cross from full-back Marek Cech - who kept Paul Robinson out of the side after his return from suspension, but his flick header was dealt with by Peterborough goalkeeper Joe Lewis.
Brunt had time to line up a shot some 20 yards out after good play by Cech but he volleyed over the crossbar. Then an inswinging corner from Brunt eluded everyone and drifted only a couple of feet wide of the far post.
But Peterborough came more into the game and were denied by the woodwork after 22 minutes.
Mackail-Smith was able to shake off the challenge of Leon Barnett on the left-hand side of the Albion box and his curling cross-shot beat Scott Carson but rattled against the crossbar.
Carson was the busier of the two goalkeepers and he went down to parry a low drive from McLean before grabbing the ball at the second attempt.
Brunt had a fierce drive blocked by Craig Morgan but Posh were looking the more menacing and George Boyd would have been disappointed to slice his shot well wide after being found in space by Mackail-Smith.
Brunt was not afraid to shoot on sight and bent another long-range effort past the post.
Borja Valero got into a dangerous position after playing a one-two with Robert Koren and it needed Posh defender Gabriel Zakuani to cut out his cross at full stretch at the expense of a corner.
Lewis only got half a punch on Brunt's centre but Koren volleyed the loose ball high and wide.
Mowbray decided on a half-time substitution and introduced on-loan Arsenal player Jay Simpson in place of Koren who had been laid low during the week with flu.
Simpson took up a position on the right side of midfield but the 20-year-old can also play up front.
A raking 45-yard pass from Brunt picked out the run of Luke Moore behind the Posh defence but, after cutting back inside, his shot was blocked by Lewis who had come off his line.
There was more urgency about Albion now and Lewis parried a low drive by Greening and then clung onto the follow-up effort from Simpson.
The Posh goalkeeper also denied Valero after a powerful surge forward as a decoy run by Simpson allowed the space to open up in front of him.
Then after 64 minutes Baggies defender Olsson broke the deadlock.
Greening floated over a left-wing corner and Olsson was first to react as his glancing header flew into the corner of the net.
Mackail-Smith should have equalised five minutes later but sent his header wide with the goal at his mercy from a Boyd cross.
Boyd had the ball in the net after 76 minutes but had strayed offside.
But with three minutes left Mackail-Smith forced a replay when he turned home a cross from McLean.
|Team Name||West Bromwich Albion||Peterborough United|
|Shots On Target||5||4|
|Shots Off Target||6||4|