Posh v Hitchin Town 4th Qualifying Rd 16 Nov 1946
Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 4 v Hitchin Town 1
Referee: J.J. Lewis
Not a mutter of discontent was to be heard at or after the Hitchin cup tie. The result, a 4-1 win for the United was just right as far as the home supporters were concerned, and the thrill a minute game gave everybody their money’s worth.
Hitchin revealed themselves as a neat side, at their best in positional play. They could teach Peterborough a lesson with the way their forwards moved. They pinned their faith in the wing attack, with the whole line moving up together; this meant that if two Peterborough defenders gave their attention to the man in possession someone had to be left unmarked, and in a dangerous position.
For a quarter of an hour Hitchin’s thrusts had the defence upside down and the price Peterborough had to pay was a goal. But the United were resilient and as soon as they began to mark the man hope revived.
Two goals came before half time to transfer the advantage to Peterborough and two more in the second half, to settle the matter. Rudkin helped himself to the first three, and there is no doubt that we was the match winner. He was right at the top of his form, dazzling the Hitchin defence with superb footwork. His one blemish was on the strength of his three goals he tried to do the impossible. Scobie too, fancied himself to be the only forward; otherwise Hitchin might have gone home a more thoroughly beaten side. As it was they showed a never say die spirit right to the end.
Peterborough’s supporters were delighted to see the forwards have a go whenever opportunity offered., so much so that Williams was given a busier than any other keeper at London Road this season.
The wing halves gave superb support, with cunning and effective placing of the ball, and Jim Smith blotted out Wingate, Hitchin’s high scoring centre forward. Smith’s speed and tenacity were qualities the occasion called for, and he had to use them to the limit. All was well, as usual , with the rear lines.
Hitchin were best served by their skipper, Westwood an accomplished left half who was unlucky enough to twist a knee and retire to the wing.: Chapman a hefty resourceful left back whose anticipation rarely let him down: and Williams, who spoiled an inspired game in goal with one fatal error.
It was Peterborough’s early tendency to concentrate on the man with the ball, which led to Hitchin gaining the lead on ten minutes. Saunders was unmarked twelve yards out and when the ball was pushed through from the left, he drove it into the roof of the net.
A quarter of an hour later Rudkin finished a piece of neat footwork with a straight drive. Williams had the ball covered, but he let it spin from his hands and over the line.
Rudkin’s second was a better effort. Standing level with the backs 40 yards from the goal when Warnes punted forward, he outstripped them and coolly placed the ball well out of Williams reach from 20 yards.
The goal with which Rudkin completed his trio 15 minutes after the interval will be talked about for months. Although energetically tackled first by Scott and then by Kitchener, he came through with the ball at his feet, almost on the base line. A feint pass into the centre checked the Hitchin men running in to cover the goal, and on went Rudkin to smash the ball in from the sharpest of angles. It was a grand goal and the crowd cheered it for two minutes.
Mitchell completed the tally from the penalty spot when Kitchener brought Warnes down a foot inside the area.
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.
Hitchin Town: A.R. Williams, T. Kitchener, D. Chapman, S. Scoot, M. Theakstone, W.Westwood, A. Ward, W. Saunders, F. Wingate, L. Dolan and N. Clark.
Goal scorers: The Posh – Adam Mitchell 68 mins and Tommy Rudkin (3) 25 mins, 32 mins & 60 mins. Hitchin Town – W. Saunders 10 mins.