Posh v Kettering Town Reserves 1st Qualifying Rd 1 Oct 1938

Venue: London Road, Peterborough

Attendance: 5,266

Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Kettering Town Reserves 1

Referee: G.B. Stanley

The Posh surmounted their first obstacle in this season’s FA Cup by disposing of Kettering Town in the first qualifying round.

The United won by two goals to one, but not without a grim struggle in the last ten minutes when Edward Dickens, the young amateur goalkeeper from Leicester, held shot after shot to deny Kettering the right to a replay.

Nobody would begrudge the United their victory. Apart from an occasional lapse in the second half – and this was not surprising having regard to the cracking pace they had set from the first whistle  – they more or less dictated the swing of the game.

Although their team work was good, the United did not always select the quickest way to goal. Had they done so – and Eric Bott provided the object lesson in the opening stages – they would never have been faced with the danger of a replay, as they were in the last ten minutes, when Kettering made a remarkable rally and did everything but score an equaliser. The United had enough chances in the first half to have made that final struggle unnecessary.

George Bowater, while not always to blame, contributed very largely to Peterborough’s wasted efforts. One  would see Sam Haden, Jack or Harold Smith get the front line moving like clockwork: Arthur Sharp and Bott weave their way through with perfect understanding: and Charlie MacCartney just itching to get his boot to the ball while the Kettering defence was trying to sort itself out of a tangle. But invariably Bowater or Horace Fielding would lose the ball by dilly-dallying instead of banging it straight into the middle.

Although the result indicates a very keen tussle from start to finish, it seemed that Peterborough had Kettering’s measure all along. Their team work was better, and at times they gave delightful passing exhibitions even if their finishing was crude.

The United’s defence always struck one as being solid. Charles McDonagh at times was a little uncertain with his clearances , but he always had the happy knack of being in the right place at the right moment. Jack Smith was as solid as a rock, and the whole of the half back line worked like Trojans.

Macartney never seemed to get the chances that he should have had, despite the fact the halves were generous in their distribution of the ball. His lack of height and weight had a great deal to do with this. His winning goal however, was a masterpiece – a typical Macartney effort. It was Sharp and Bott who shared the brunt of the attack, and while they were making the openings it was not always possible for them to be up to improve upon them.

Rarely was the Kettering attack sufficiently virile to become a potential danger – except in the closing minutes – and the visitors must thank their defence, mainly that their defeat was no more severe than an odd goal.

It was a great day for Peterborough football. First of all there was a record crowd for the present club, and then the United – drawn at home for only the second time since their formation – ousted their opponents in a grand ‘local derby’ and lowered Kettering’s unbeaten record this season. Thus did the United avenge their cup defeat at the hands of Kettering last season, when, after forcing a draw at Kettering, they were beaten at home in the replay by a penalty goal.

Peterborough were so insistent in their whirlwind attacks at the start that it was not at all surprising to see them go ahead after about ten minutes. Bott, who had twice been unsuccessful with glorious drives, took a header from Macartney and hooked the ball with his left foot into the right-hand corner of the net, well out of reach of Tarrant’s reach.

Kettering shaken by this early reverse, were seldom in the picture for the remainder of the half, and they had the ill-luck to lose Cummings for the ten minutes before half time. In the opening minutes of the second half, Dickens did useful work when Watson and Carr became troublesome, but in the 60 minute the goal fell as a result of a delightful piece of individualism by Carr and an error by McDonagh. The Peterborough back appeared to have plenty of time to clear, but instead he chose to pass back to Dickens. In a flash Carr nipped between them and drove the ball home for the equaliser.

Fourteen minutes from the end Haden placed the ball beautifully into the goalmouth with a free kick from the touchline, and Macartney leapt through a ruck of players to head the winning goal.Teams:

The Posh: Edward Dickens, Charles McDonagh, Jack Smith, Sam Rowbotham, Harold Smith, Sam Haden, Horace Fielding, Arthur Sharp, Charlie MacCartney, Eric Bott and George Bowater.

Kettering Town Reserves: Tarrant, Cummings, Robson, Linnell, Smith, Riches, Edward, Watson, Carr, McCool, Robinson.


Goal scorers: The Posh – Eric Bott 10 mins and Charlie MacCartney 76 mins. Kettering Town Reserves – Carr 60 mins.