A close-range goal by Alan Lee, the 100th of his career, earned 10-man Crystal Palace a draw at London Road last night and continued Peterborough's slow return to the Championship.
Palace defender Paddy McCarthy was sent off with 16 minutes left. He was booked in the first half for a cynical foul on Craig Mackail-Smith and fouled him at least five times more before being shown a second yellow.
The game was lacking in quality but the home side forged ahead in the 53rd minute through Shaun Batt. George Boyd span away from Danny Butterfield on the left and clipped a pass with the outside of his left foot to Batt on the right wing. He surged past Clint Hill and planted a powerful effort past the goalkeeper Julian Speroni from just inside the area.
It was a fine finish but Batt was guilty of squandering an equally good chance two minutes later. Again Boyd was the architect as Posh broke away from a Palace corner and his precise pass played Batt into a similar position. This time Batt chose to try and pass to Mackail-Smith but saw his ball easily cut out by McCarthy.
Palace equalised with a scrappy goal in the 64th minute. A Darren Ambrose corner was not dealt with and when McCarthy sent a header back across the six-yard box Lee was able to prod the ball over the line from two yards.
The Palace manager, Neil Warnock, said: "I was delighted with the point. Alan had to work hard up there and he always has a chance if he puts in a shift like that. We couldn't sell him for the money which we still owed Ipswich so we had to keep him. Barnsley made us an offer but Ipswich wouldn't do us a favour on the finance front so he stayed. We wanted to move him on but I said to him there'll always be a chance for him here."
Warnock believed most of the refereeing decisions could have gone the other way. He added: "In the old days that would have been a cracking battle between centre-half and forward, but we are too finicky at the minute with too many directives. God knows what they will do with two more officials behind the goals."
The Peterborough manager, Darren Ferguson, said: "It was a missed opportunity to get our first win and it's two points dropped. We've never gone three games without winning since I've been here so it's something new to handle now it's five.
"I have enquired about two or three players this week who were all on over £10,000 a week and we can't compete with that."
Peterborough: Lewis, Martin, Morgan, Zakuani, Williams, Batt, Frecklington, Diagouraga, Boyd, Mackail-Smith, Mclean. Substitutes: McKeown, Lee, Coutts, Keates, Rowe, Pearce, Green.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Butterfield, McCarthy, Fonte, Hill,
Ambrose, Derry, Danns, N'Diaye, Sears, Lee. Substitutes: Flahavan, Clyne, Carle, Moses, Scannell, Lawrence, Ryan Smith.
Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire)