Posh v Kettering Town 3rd Qualifying Rd 2 Nov 1946
Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 4 v Kettering Town 1
Referee: F.R. Archer.
Two dreams came true at London Road in this game. The first was of seeing Kettering decisively beaten by the United; the second, the sight of United playing football as if they meant it.
Peterborough won so handsomely because they stayed the course, fresh to the end in spite of a killing pace.
The inclusion of Brooksbanks at inside right was a tonic in its effect on the attack. A strong player, he was difficult to stop, and his distribution of the ball had the stamp of accuracy.
The forwards get the first pat on the back because they were so much better than they usually are – direct in their approach to goal and ready to chance a shot.
But the honours go to the defence. Jim Smith had the measure of the much vaunted Woolhead, Kettering’s high scoring centre forward. So much ballyhoo had been written about him that he had come to be an almost legendary figure. Smith proved him to be a very ordinary footballer.
Bryan can claim a remarkable distinction of not once allowing Burgess, the Kettering left winger, to get beyond him.
These two, Smith and Bryan, were the outstanding pair in a splendid rearguard.
Mitchell, again captain in Beardshaw’s absence, played a storming game in support of the forwards, and on the opposite flank Rickards was a dynamic force.
Kettering were unlucky to have to make a shuffle because of an injury earlier on. Drage, the right half, fell heavily and bruised a hip. He moved to right wing, Henly going inside and Hawtin falling back.
The ‘Poppies’ supporters glibly pinned the defeat to that misfortune. In the opinion of less biased spectators the real turning point was the penalty that Sheen gave away in the 57th minute. That seemed to knock all the stuffing out of an already overworked Kettering defence.
Two easy goals followed, and two more would have been added but for a large slice of luck for Kettering.
Kettering gained the lead in the eleventh minute and held on grimly until the last kick of the half, when the equaliser came.
Before the Poppies went ahead Rudkin had shown them the shape of things to come with three tremendous efforts, two of which Barton saved a full length. The third hit a post with the goalkeeper helpless.
Then came Kettering’s goal. Hawtin forcing the ball over the line after Silcocks had dropped it in a goalmouth scramble.
Over eagerness led to missed chances on both sides before the United drew level.
In the 44th minute Scobie raced away, and crossed a perfect centre. Padgett jumped over the ball, intending it to go to Warnes, but Smith made a partial clearance, Brooksbank seized the chance to shoot through a crowd of players.
There was not a lot of constructive football in the second half, but plenty of full bloodied stuff that thrilled the crowd.
Persistence had its reward in the 57th minute, when the penalty came. Scobie had beaten Barton with a square cross, and Rudkin lobbed the ball back over the goalkeeper, and almost on to Warnes head. Sheen got a hand there first, and from the spot Mitchell scored what was virtually the winning goal.
After 71 minutes Kettering’s offside trap, which had had marked success throughout the first half, broke down. Warnes, seeing the winger was well placed, let Padgett’s pass go out to the left. Rudkin closed in without challenge, and at close range cheekily tapped the ball inside a post.
Four minutes later Barton could not hold Rudkin’s shot and Scobie rammed the ball home for the fourth goal.
The Posh: Len Silcocks, Bernie Bryan, Cyril Parrott, Tommy Rickards, Jimmy Smith, Adam Mitchell, Alan Scobie, Nat Brooksbank, Fred Warnes, John Padgett and Tommy Rudkin.
Kettering Town: Barton, Campbell, Smith, Drage, Sheen, Roberts, Henley, Hawtin, Woolhead, White and Burgess.
Goal scorers: The Posh – Adam Mitchell 57 mins, Alan Scobie 75 mins, Tommy Rudkin 71 mins and Nat Brooksbank 44 mins. Kettering Town – Hawtin 11 mins