West Brom boss Tony Pulis talked up Saido Berahino’s goalscoring prowess, amid interest in the striker ahead of Monday night’s transfer deadline.
However, at the other end of the pitch, Pulis was not pleased with his side’s defending as Albion face an FA Cup replay against League One promotion hopefuls Peterborough following Saturday’s 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.
It looked like Berahino’s early strike would be all that separated the sides but three goals in eight frantic minutes mean Posh will get another chance at the ABAX Stadium next month.
Shaquile Coulthirst equalised after 79 minutes and though Berahino quickly restored West Brom’s lead, substitute Jon Taylor levelled things up again with four minutes remaining.
West Brom’s Premier League rivals Tottenham and Newcastle have been linked with Berahino but unless a really sizeable offer comes in before the deadline Albion have no intention of cashing in, Press Association Sport understands.
Berahino made his first start since October and now has six goals to his name this season.
Pulis said: “When you put Saido in front of goal, he’s a goalscorer.
“His sharpness is nowhere near what it was last year and you can see that as much as I can. Not playing football certainly knocks your fitness and sharpness but one thing you certainly can’t take away from the kid is calmness in front of goal.
“He has that wonderful, wonderful ability to put the ball in the back of the net.”
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.
The League One side were level for 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.
Pulis said: ”It’s disappointing but that’s cup football. We led twice and the longer the game goes on then 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.
”I don’t want to give any discredit to Peterborough, they 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.
“When Saido scores the second one that should be the end of it.”