Biggleswade Town v Posh FA Cup 1st Rd Proper 14 Nov 1936
Venue: Fairfield, Biggleswade
Score: Biggleswade Town 1 v Peterborough Utd 2
Referee: H.E. Heatherfield
Before they took the field against Biggleswade, Posh players touched ‘just for luck’ a rabbit’s foot presented to them by a supporter at the Rushden match. Jackie Wilson went one better. He rubbed both legs with the mascot – and scored the winning goal!
Posh won by two goals to one, and thus earned the right to appear in the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup competition for the first time intheir history. It was in a sense a lucky win, for Biggleswade were a keen and thrustful side, to whom fell the majority af the day’s scoring chances. On the one hand there was a readiness to accept the slightest opportunity; on the other a wildness in front of goal that wasted better chances than ever Posh had.
Posh played a re-arranged half back line, Chiverton moving from left to right to the exclusion of Rowbotham, and Hargreaves reappearing at left half. Biggleswade made a forward change, Huckle returning to the left wing berth after an absence due to injury. O’Donnell was dropped to make room for him.
It was the defence that won the match for the Posh. Kendall was determined to concede as little as possible, and the backs covered each other and the goal better than ever before. Spendidly as the rear lines played, it was Froggart who was the hero of the day. He is at all times a purely defensive centre half, and he proved his worth in this role. He hardly left his own penalty area, but in a raid he was always in the thick of the fray. Three times he reached shots that had Kendall well beaten.
Chiverton played a ‘blinder’ against a scheming wing, and Hargreaves, cooler perhaps than the rest of them, completed a defence that was at its best. Because so much attention was paid to keeping Biggleswade at bay the forwards were deprived of support, and they had to initiate practically every attack that was launched on the Biggleswade goal. The W formation was over emphasised, and in practically every attack Rigby and Briggs were too far back to be dangerous. Thus, with Roberts a poor connecting link, the brunt of the attack fell on the wing men, who did their utmost throughout.
Biggleswade’s greatest assets were keeness and determination to win. They never kept the ball a second longer than necessary, and the speed with which their open type attack was carried out might have brought about the collapse of the defence if the early goals for which the ‘Waders’ strove might and main had come.
The right wing, Haggar and Denton – both in the veteran stage now – were a hot handful for Hargreaves and Bisby, and the principal source of danger. Dawson, the cenre forward, fed both flanks judiciously with beautiful low passes inside the backs, but when the ball came back to him he was lost. Cawdell and Huckle completed a virile attack and from this wing came the best shooting. Dudgeon dominated the half back line, perhaps because Roberts play was far below his best, and Gregory and Buck were sound backs. It was cruel luck for Biggleswade that the one mistake made by Shotbolt, their brilliant young goalkeeper, resulted in the goal which gave the Posh passage to the next round.
From the kick off Biggleswade were all out for goal, but it was the Posh who had the first good chance, after eight minutes, when Roberts received from Rigby, with Biggleswade appealing for offside, and shot straight at the goalkeeper. Then a long pass by Cawdell sent Haggar away, and as Bisby interceptd the centre Denton fired in a ‘first timer’ on the run, but Kendall pulled the ball down from just under the bar.
There was a great thrill when all the inside forwards missed Haggar’s centre in the goalmouth. Huckle returned the ball, and again it went across the goal unchecked; this time Haggar’s shot flashed across the goal a third time and went behind. Griffiths placed a free kick to Denton whose header was cleared from the line by Froggart, with Kendall unsighted.
Shotbolt saved Biggleswade when he fell on the ball at the feet of Briggs and Roberts, who were following up Hargreaves through pass. Ten minutes from the interval Jackie Wilson made the best effort of the half for the Posh. He beat three men in a grand run and Shotbolt just managed to get down to his shot at the foot of the post.
Biggleswade launched a series of tremendous attacks in an effort to gain the lead before half time, but Huckle, cutting in to receive Cawdell’s pass, shot wildly from three yards range and missed. A shot from Denton rebounded to Dawson whose shot was turned over the bar by Froggart. From the corner, Huckle headed across the goal to Hutchinson and again Froggart came to the rescue, clearing from the goal line, with Kendall badly positioned.
Froggart and Wilson collided in tackling Cawdell, who nipped through and fired in from point blank range but Kendall saved. Just on the interval Biggleswade had an escape when Shotbolt fell as Briggs was running through, and Gregory cut across to block the shot in the goalmouth.
Posh gained the lead seven minutes after the interval. Shotbolt brilliantly turned Hargreaves free kick over the bar, and from Rigby’s corner Briggs rushed the ball in.
Biggleswade were on level terms within five minutes, Denton scoring with a fast drive into a corner of the net from Huckle’s centre. Thrills came thick and fast in the last half hour. Cawdell was only a foot off the mark with a fine drive from 40 yards out, and Dawson, racing through the defence, hit the front of the far post with an oblique shot that left Kendall helpless. Kendall was beaten again when Haggar headed in, but once more Froggart was there to clear.
Twelve minutes from the end Jackie Wilson and Rigby changed places in a cross passing run. Shotbolt misjudged Rigby’s centre and the ball rebounded from his chest to Jackie Wilson, who met it at top speed and crashed it into the far corner of the net.
Biggleswade piled on every ounce of pressure in the closing stages and nearly had an equaliser when Kendall, Hargreaves and Dawson fell in a goalmouth melee. The ball went spinning the length of the goal, and trickled past the safe side of a post just before Huckle reached it!
Five minutes from the end Haggar beat Bisby with a pretty feint, and centred beautifully. Dawson flung himself full length to meet the ball, and headed just inches wide. Right on time Froggart and a Biggleswade forward collided in front of goal, Biggleswade frantically claimed a penalty and there was a moment of breathless suspense as the referee consulted a linesman before awarding a goal kick to Posh.
The Posh: Jack Kendall, Charlie Wilson, Charlie Bisby, Len Hargreaves, Ted Chiverton, T. Froggart, Jackie Wilson, Harry Roberts, Billy Rigby, Jack Briggs and Syd Sims.
Biggleswade Town: A.E. Shotbolt, Gregory, Buck, F. Hutchinson, Dudgeon, R. Griffiths, Haggar, Denton, Dawson, A. Cawdell and B.G. Buckle.
Goal scorers: The Posh – Jack Briggs 52 mins and Jackie Wilson 78 mins. Biggleswade Town – Denton 57 mins.