Posh v Torquay Utd 1st Round Proper 27 Nov 1948

Venue: London Road, Peterborough

Attendance: 8,769

Score: Peterborough Utd 0 v Torquay Utd 1

Referee: S.J. Isom

As a draught caught flame leaps and points its tongue before oblivion, so did Peterborough Utd struggle to preserve their cup like in this long to be remembered clash with third Division Torquay Utd.

The comparison is apt; for in the mud and raw murk the team from Devon found the light of United’s hopes, fed by a spirit of determination and fever pitch enthusiasm, desperately hard to quench.

That they finally succeeded, winning by the only goal scored, was due largely to the stubbornness with which their defence met United’s persistent attacks in the last half hour and to a not inconsiderable measure of luck.

United put into this game everything they had, and although they went out of the Cup the manner of their going spilled some light into the gloom of disappointment.

As a game of football this match was good enough to please; as a cup tie it was a classic. And it was United’s terrific second half rally that made it so.

Earlier in the game Torquay’s unity of action, their direct method of attack, made them the better side. They began with such vigour that the United had to defend  desperately to prevent an early score. The home forwards were less in the picture, but they made Torquay’s rearguard think quickly when they did get going.

Nat Brooksbank twice went near with scorching drives take on the run – the type of shot at which he excels. First he hit a side net after running onto a well judged pass by Len Beaumont, and then made Davis fling himself at a ball which whipped across the goalmouth like lightning.

In the 25th minute Torquay got the goal which proved their ticket to the second round, and wrote finis to United’s hopes. A shrewd pass from middle to right wing found Lewis unmarked and although Posh goalkeeper Bob Ferguson dived desperately he could not reach the winger’s shot into a far corner.

Even when Torquay lost Shaw with a twisted knee ten minutes from half time, Torquay still had a even share of the play, and at the interval just about deserved to be leading by a goal.

For the first quarter of an hour of the second half the ding-dong struggle continued. Shaw came back to play on the left wing, and though limping was still dangerous enough for Bernie Bryan to watch him carefully.

Then United struck – and went on striking. To the accompaniment of a ceaseless barrage of cheering they hammered away at the Torquay goal -forwards, halves, even Bryan and Jack Blood, came upfield to join in the concentrated attack.

Torquay packed their goal, covered up as best they could. Two corners followed one another in quick succession, but each time Head, Torquay’s centre-half got the ball away. Then Glyn Vaughan, always prominent, went careering through, only to be pulled up by the offside whistle. Fred Tapping’s marksmanship was twice at fault in near goal melees, and another chance was missed when he shot the ball straight into two Torquay defenders lying on the ground.

Five minutes from the end Tapping went on the wing and Brooksbank moved into the centre, but it was too late for such a move to prove effective.

Torquay must have been thankful for the final whistle: they were a tired team. United on the other hand, were full of fight until the end – a fact reflecting the thoroughness with Trainer Jim Smith had prepared them for the struggle.

Bill Fallon was once again the dominating figure in the United team. Behind him Bryan had a good match, and of a forward line lacking a real marksman Vaughan and Beaumont were about the best.

To sum up: Torquay may go further in the Cup, but it is doubtful if they willhave to fight harder to win.


The Posh: Bob Ferguson, Bernie Bryan, Jack Blood, Jim Harkin, Jim Fallon, Bert Cockroft, Len Beaumont, Nat Brooksbank, Glyn Vaughan, Fred Tapping and Billy Guest.

Torquay Utd: Davis, Stuttard, Calland, Towers, Head, Hill, Lewis, Collins, Conley, Shaw and Cameron.

Goal scorer: Torquay Utd – Lewis 25 mins.