Peterborough United manager Steve Evans insisted the magic in his squad saw them through a superb FA Cup tie at Bradford City tonight (December 11).
Posh triumphed in the second round replay 3-2 in a penalty shotout after a 4-4 draw at Valley Parade. Posh will now travel to Championship promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough in the third round on January 5.
Posh led 2-0 and 3-1 tonight, but then trailed 4-3 before Ivan Toney completed a stunning hat-trick with an 84th minute header to take the tie into extra time. Toney, who opened the scoring with a 50-yard free kick, now has nine goals in his last eight appearances.
And after a goalless 30 minutes ‘keeper Conor O’Malley saved three penalties in the shootout to send Posh through.
“There is no doubt there is some magic in our squad,” Evans enthused.
“That got us through on a night when we didn’t defend well at all. We had this tie won 10 days ago and we were in control at half-time tonight.
“There was then organised chaos in our penalty area and we found ourselves heading out of the Cup, but Marcus Maddison has produced another wonderful moment with a great cross and Ivan Toney completed a memorable hat-trick with a great header.
“We paid a lot of money for Ivan, but he’s a top half Championship player. His first goal was special and his second goal was special because of Maddison’s cross. Maddison was outstanding throughout.
“Obviously we will have to improve defensively. We kept letting them back into the game with chaotic moments. We weren’t good enough individually or collectively. No-one was taking responsibility. There was no resolve, there was no purpose in our defending.
“But we got through which showed again the character we have in the squad. Conor O’Malley got involved in a couple of their goals, but his work in the shootout was oustanding. Credit also to Mark Tyler for his work as the goalkeeper coach. We haven’t looked like saving a penalty all season.
“And our fitness level were oustanding. We were running all over them in extra time because we were far fitter. We had five great chances to score in the second period but we lacked composure.
“It was a great cup tie though. I hope the Posh fans enjoyed it and I’m sure there will be a few more at the Middlesbrough game.”