West Brom boss Pulis hails 'goalscorer' Berahino

West Bromwich Albion boss Tony Pulis has talked up Saido Berahino's goalscoring prowess, amid interest in the striker ahead of the transfer deadline.

West Bromwich Albion Tony Pulis Saido Berahino

West Brom striker Saido Berahino Source: Getty Images

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 United after a 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 Hotspur and Newcastle United 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."

Peterborough boss Graham Westley is no stranger to cup upsets and he hopes his latest will stand his young team in good stead for the remainder of the season.

Westley, who sprung a surprise at Darlington with Farnborough in 2003 and five years ago masterminded Stevenage's shock win against Newcastle, thinks the draw at The Hawthorns will give his players confidence.

"It's right up there (with the Darlington and Newcastle games) right now," said Westley.

"But I think the most pleasing thing is that a lot of young players have really grown up this afternoon and got some self-belief. They have gone toe-to-toe with some serious players and worked really hard and it gives you the self-belief you can take with you for the rest of the season - the rest of your career.

"Some of our lads will have seen just how good they can be and that's really important for a team."

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4 min read
Published 31 January 2016 at 6:00am
By Sean Taylor
Source: PA Sport