LONDON: Peterborough manager Mark Cooper refused to take any credit for his side’s remarkable second half fightback in their 4-4 draw against Cardiff.Cooper’s team, who are bottom of English football’s second tier, looked dead and buried when two goals from Joe Ledley and further strikes from Jay Bothroyd and Peter Whittingham put Cardiff four goals up before half-time at London Road.
But Josh Simpson started Peterborough’s revival before Charlie Lee added a second in the 68th minute.
Even then, fourth-placed Cardiff should have held on as they retained their two-goal lead until the 89th minute.
Yet George Boyd volleyed home to breathe new life into the hosts and then Simpson, on loan from non-league Cambridge United, struck in stoppage to complete the great escape.
However, Cooper insisted he hadn’t delivered a rousing team-talk to his players at half-time and claimed he was still unhappy with their performance.
“Our first half performance was completely unacceptable. I didn’t say a lot to the players at half-time – in fact, I thought about getting in my car and going home!” he said.
“But we changed our shape, changed our personnel and got ourselves back into the game.
“Cardiff probably thought it would be a stroll but I am still really frustrated that it took us until the second half to start playing.
“If we are capable of scoring four goals against a team chasing promotion in the space of 45 minutes, what could we do if we performed for a whole game?”
Shell-shocked Cardiff boss Dave Jones added: “I can safely say I have never been involved in anything like this before. Peterborough were dead and buried until we let them back into the game.
“We had players thinking the game was over and not doing their jobs in the second half. None of us saw this coming after what happened in the first period.”
West Bromwich Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo saluted his players’ composure as they won 3-1 at nine-man Scunthorpe to move within six points of leaders Newcastle, who drew 0-0 against Derby at St James’ Park.
“That’s six points out of six from the two Christmas games and just what we wanted to keep up the pressure at the top of the table,” Di Matteo said.
“My players had to be careful to keep their discipline because the home crowd were trying to influence the decisions of the referee.”
Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies believes his team’s winning mentality can make the difference in the promotion race as they defeated Coventry 2-0 to extend their unbeaten run to 16 games.
Robert Earnshaw and Dexter Blackstock got the goals at the City Ground to keep Forest in third place and Davies said: “We have a ‘we’ mentality at this football club – not ‘me’ – and the group of players we have here all deserve credit for the job they are doing.
“It’s been necessary to rotate to keep players as fresh as possible over the holiday period but the players who have come in have done wonderfully well and those who have come off the bench have also been impressive.”
Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan couldn’t hide his frustration after his side’s 2-1 defeat at Barnsley left them languishing in 11th place.
“It was a fluke,” Strachan said. “We won the football match in the first half and they decided to turn it into a cup tie and then they won it.”
Elsewhere, Watford’s John Eustace scored a last minute equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw at Bristol City.
Jonathan Stead, sent off against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, went from zero to hero for 10-man Ipswich as his double inspired a 3-0 home victory over QPR. — AFP