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Ben Foster saved two penalties as West Brom edged past League One side Peterborough in the shoot-out following a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup fourth round replay at London Road.
The Baggies will now meet Reading in the FA Cup fifth round at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday 20 February, but Tony Pulis' side can count themselves fortunate to progress after being taken all the way by Graham Westley's impressive young side.
Posh seemed set for a first FA Cup win over top-flight opposition since 1965, when Jon Taylor opened the scoring on 55 minutes with a finish from the edge of the box, through James Chester's legs and the weak hands of Foster.
But the Premier League side levelled 15 minutes later with a goal of real quality, as Darren Fletcher thumped home a stunning half-volley from McClean's cross from the left.
West Brom had a gilt-edged chance to win the match late into injury time of extra time, but the unmarked Saido Berahino headed Craig Gardner's free-kick wide of the far post.
Peterborough seemed dead on their feet in the shoot-out following 30 minutes of extra-time, especially when Foster saved Martin Samuelsen's spot-kick, but they were given an immediate fillip when Fletcher stroked the next penalty wide.
However, penalty shoot-outs are as much about technique as pressure, and with West Brom 4-3 up, Lee Angol's stuttering run ahead of the tenth and final spot-kick telegraphed his intentions, allowing Foster to save with his legs..
It was a mixed night for the two former League of Ireland players on show, with former St Patrick's Athletic playmaker Chris Forrester impressing in a deep role for Posh before fading as the match went into extra-time.
Ireland international and former Derry City winger McClean set up Fletcher's equaliser from the left wing-back position, but his tackling and positioning was erratic and he was guilty of a couple of wild challenges on Peterborough's young midfielder Samuelsen.