Bullock rids Huddersfield of their hoodoo

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The Independent Online
PHIL SHAW

Huddersfield Town 2 Peterborough United 0

Huddersfield, having beaten the Siberian snows thanks to their undersoil heating, eventually inflicted the same fate on Peterborough in last night's fourth-round FA Cup tie at the McAlpine Stadium. The First Division promotion challengers were slow warming to their task, but second-half goals by Darren Bullock and Andy Booth set up a home date against the winners of tonight's match between Middlesbrough and Wimbledon.

While Paul Dalton also shook the woodwork in the closing minutes, a third home goal would have reflected unfairly on Peterborough. The 11,629 souls who had braved the elements, 1,500 of whom created a raucous presence on the away end, were doubtless thankful to see the tie resolved after a particularly vapid first half.

The disparity in status was a not inconsiderable 40 Endsleigh League places, although it was Peterborough who settled better on a surface that was firm with a light dusting of snow confined to the corners and to one penalty area. Having beaten the blizzards to reach Yorkshire, they initially looked capable of belying their lowly position.

Peterborough's best first-half efforts highlighted a problem that no groundsman or electrician could prevent: a ball like a greasy balloon. The Huddersfield goalkeeper, Steve Francis, spilled long-range shots by both Simon Clark and Sean Farrell in the opening 11 minutes, gathering at the second attempt on each occasion.

Huddersfield took until the 38th minute to muster a shot, if Rodney Rowe's wretchedly miscued volley could be so termed, but were an altogether more positive proposition after their manager, Brian Horton, had what he later described "a right moan-up" at his players during the interval.

Even so, Jon Sheffield in Peterborough's goal had been forced to perform exercises to keep warm before he was beaten in the 53rd minute by a goal whose quality was sublimely out of keeping with the banality that had gone before. Bullock exchanged brisk passes with Booth before beating Sheffield with a venomous shot from the edge of the penalty area.

A deft back-heel by Booth soon gave Dalton a chance from an identical position which he wasted. When roles were reversed with 16 minutes left, Booth followed up the rebound of his own blocked shot to convert his 13th goal of the season. As more illustrious names wait for the weather to change, Huddersfield are in the last 16 for the first time in 24 years.

Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Francis; Jenkins, Gray, Sinnott, Cowan; Reid, Bullock, Makel, Dalton; Rowe, Booth. Substitutes not used: Collins, Dunn, Norman (gk).

Peterborough United (4-4-2): Sheffield; Williams, Breen, Clark, Spearing (Rioch, 88); Carter (Power, 66), Sedgemore, Ebdon, Morrison; Farrell, Martindale. Substitute not used: Le Bihan.

Referee: S Mathieson (Stockport).

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