Carling Cup: Boro 3 Peterborough 4
Sensational drama as The Posh win Carling Cup tie with last minute penalty
Stevenage 3 Peterborough 4 (AET)
Carling Cup First Round
George Boyd made a winning return to Stevenage as Peterborough pulled off a stunning victory with a penalty in the last minute of the match.
Jon Ashton was adjudged to have brought down the returning winger, and up stepped Lee Tomlin to break Boro’s hearts after Graham Westley’s men had three times come from behind in a pulsating game of football.
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Within just 60 seconds of the start Scott Laird signalled an intent to drive forward on the wing and when he got lucky after a ball over his shoulder fell to him on the bounce he took a touch and hit it on the volley from 25 yards with his left peg.
It was a sweet – too sweet – and it flew just inches over the bar.
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Both sets of fans were in full voice and expected to be entertained, and the early signs were promising.
After Laird’s opening crack, The Posh were next to break forward.
A through ball to Tommy Rowe saw the midfielder break clear of the back line and as Julian came out to the edge of the box he was tricked by the skill of the midfielder who passed the ball past him.
Julian, however, had already committed himself and as he took Rowe down the whistle seemed inevitable. Except it wasn’t, and to the astonishment to both sets of fans and no doubt those scribes of the laws of the game, referee Salisbury let this one go.
Julian was soon in the thick of it again when Boyd, selflessly, set up Tomlin and the goalkeeper athletically palmed the curled effort to safety.
Chances were coming so thick and fast that anyone watching this could have been forgiven for thinking it was the Ready Money Round, and it was no surprise therefore when the visitors took the lead.
From a corner on the left Ryan Tuncliffe headed the ball goalwards and David Ball flicked a header past Julian.
If the opening 16 minutes had been a frenetic affair, the next 10 showed a Posh side in total control. They passed the ball with their movement causing problems this Boro back line is unaccustomed too.
Stevenage were struggling to get a foothold in the half, or so everybody thought.
Out of nothing Wilson burst down the right wing on 30 minutes surrounded by three Posh players – but there were three too few. He skipped past them with ease to the line and hooked a cross back for Stacy Long who cut a dashing figure as he fired home low and hard into the Posh net.
Boro were still in the game going into the second half, and they went close to edging ahead just one minute in when Charles fired wide.
Boyd, too, had a shot from distance that went wide but the forward was having a great time and used the Posh front line as his own personal orchestra.
Peterborough had, at times, looked both menacing and then contained, but when Ball found space in the box he found himself able to put laces through a Rowe cut-back from 14 yards to put the visitors ahead once more.
Boro threw everything at the Posh and when Bostwick pinged a ball upfield to Charles, he took both defenders with him.
Nobody had tracked Long making a break through the middle and the midfielder, getting the knock down, hit a fine volley goalwards but it was straight at Jones.
With 10 minutes remaining a ball fired into the box looked to have been cleared until it fell to Bostwick who had once again made his way, unnoticed, to the edge of the Posh box.
This time the midfielder took a fleeting glance at it and before he had completed the follow through of his boot the ball was bulging the back of the Posh net. It was a sensational goal from 20 yards.
Where Bostwick dealt in thunder, Mark Little dealt in lightening and he almost caught Julian off guard with a quick chip over the ‘keeper as the Boro box was under siege but the goalkeeper was able to finger the ball over the bar.
Phil Edwards thought he had pinched it in stoppage time but directed Long’s cross over the bar, and not long afterwards the referee blew for 30 extra minutes.
Only two had been played before the visitors took the lead for a third time. So far Boyd had shown off tricks and flicks, but he had concealed his ace play until now. Taking a pass from a free kick and curling it around the Boro wall he also put it past Julian and the returning star had done it for Posh.
Boro kept going - Roberts close to sliding a chance home - but failed to trouble Jones again in the first period of extra time whereas Boyd almost made it four from 30 yards but Julian again flew sidewards and pushed the ball to safety.
Ashton went close with a header from a free kick in the second half of extra time before Boro levelled matters for a third time with five minutes to go. Bostwick got up at the far post and headed goalwards and his header hit a body - Beardsley - and flicked into the net.
And still the game saw chances - Julian pulled off a sensational one-handed save in a scramble in the Boro box before Posh thought they had scored only for a foul to be given - as the game edged towards penalties, but in the end just the one spot kick came.
With The Posh making another break into the box, Ashton, making possibly his first mistake of the night, was adjudged to have bundled over Boyd in dramatic circumstances and the winger went down under pressure.
The defender said there was no contact, the winger said there was, and the referee pointed to the spot and up stepped Tomlin to fire the visitors into the next round to break Boro’s hearts.
Boro (4-5-1): Julian - Charles, Henry, Ashton, Roberts - Wilson, Bostwick, Long (Shroot 109), Edwards (Winn 109), Laird, Harrison (Beardsley 91). Subs: Myrie Williams, Madjo, May.
Peterborough (4-4-2): Jones - Little, Basey (Alcock 103), Bennett, Zakuani, Tomlin, Ball, Boyd, Rowe, Tunnicliffe (Wooton 76), Frecklington. Subs: Day, Newell, Taylor, Ralph, Ntlhe.
Att: 2,414 (739)
Referee: G Salisbury.