Peterborough United appreciate that much would remain undone, in football as in life, if it was not for the last minute. They prevailed through Craig Mackail-Smith's 90th-minute goal at Hornchurch in the first round and saved themselves with a similarly timed equaliser away to Tranmere Rovers in the second round.
By such seat-of-the-pants standards, this was a relaxed finale. Three minutes plus stoppage time remained when Mackail-Smith added another chapter to his FA Cup story with a well-merited equaliser.
Any club with a Ferguson at the helm and Barry Fry on board is likely to attract headlines when they get things rolling, but the rise reflects carefully plotted progress.
Within days of his appointment two years ago this month, Sir Alex's son Darren paid Dagenham & Redbridge £125,000 for Mackail-Smith. Forty-five goals on and a division and a quarter higher, it has been terrific business.
The striker was at last year's FA Cup final, having won two seats for being named Player of the Round on his way to finishing as the competition's top scorer in 2007-08. Now, he is of a mind to make this latest one count – and he knows something about the mind.
"At Dagenham, my mum got me to see a psychologist," he said. "I've been seeing him for three years week in, week out. We chat about the forthcoming games and how I'm feeling. Is he on a goal bonus? No, but he might start asking for one soon."
Albion have won twice in the cups at London Road in the last 17 months but will not much fancy this assignment. Manager Tony Mowbray was dismayed at the loss of the lead established by Jonas Olsson's header and recognised that Peterborough played with a bounce and menace that his own side could not reproduce.
Goals Olsson (64) 1-0; Mackail-Smith (87) 1-1.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Hoefkens, Barnett, Olsson, Cech; Koren (Simpson, h-t), Valero, Greening, Brunt; Bednar (Beattie, 76), Moore (Dorrans, 69). Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Robinson, Kim, Donk.
Peterborough United (4-4-2): Lewis; Martin, Morgan, Zakuani, Lee; Whelpdale (Batt, 75), Coutts, Keates, Boyd; McLean (Torres, 89), Mackail-Smith. Substitutes not used: McKeown (gk), Westwood, Blanchett, Green, Andrew.
Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).
Man of the match: Boyd.
Attendance: 18,659.Reuse content