Posh v Wrexham 20th August 1960
Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 3 v Wrexham 0
Referee: A. Luty
Emery scores United’s first league goal
Referee Luty of Leeds, blew a sharp blast on his whistle at 3.15pm to start the first Football League match on the London Road ground.
It was the cup-tie fever all over again as soccer crazy fans streamed through the gates from 1.45pm onwards to take up position to see the Fourth Division clash between the mighty Posh and Wrexham.
Well before kick-off time the crowd appeared to have exceeded the 10,000 mark.
United manager Jimmy Hagan surprised fans during the week when he named the United team. He fielded nine men who last season helped to bring the Midland League championship to Peterborough for the fifth successive season.
Only newcomers brought in for the match were tall Terry Bly (from Norwich) at centre forward and stocky Derek Norris (he played against Posh three times last season as centre-half for Gainsborough Trinity) at left-back.
Four Posh players; Ellis Stafford, Derek Norris, Dennis Emery and Peter McNamee, made their Football League debuts although all of them had played against League sides in the FA Cup.
Wrexham made a sporting gesture before the kick-off when they presented Peterborough with a large silver salver to mark United’s entry into the league and the fact that Wrexham provided their first opposition.
United’s new blue and white strip looked superb as the team took to the field led by Norman Rigby. The expected roar echoed through the stadium as the tension mounted.
Peterborough won the toss as a battery of Press cameras witnessed the meeting of the captains. New boy Norris started Peterborough’s first move, but Jones dropped back to clear. As Emery chased a Stafford ball Holland headed back to Johnson.
When Wrexham attacked with a high centre by the roving Evans, Jack Walls came out and collected confidently. Peterborough hit back with a lively raid and McGowan gave away a corner. Fox headed away but United caused more hope when a Bly shot was only just blocked by Johnson.
Wrexham came more into the game after the first 20 minutes and Rigby conceded the first corner when pressed by Harbertson. Stafford’s timely slide saved a dangerous situation as Hunter moved in with a chance.
Peterborough were a little hurried in their movements but Rigby set an example with some cool interceptions down the middle. The defence at this stage showed none of last week’s jitters as shots from Harbertson and Griffiths were watched to safety by Walls.
Peterborough scored their first goal in the league and London Road went mad as Emery beat Johnson with a ground shot from the edge of the area after 25 minutes.
The move was started by Stafford and Rayner with Hails providing the final pass. Straight from the restart Bly fired into the side netting with Johnson beaten.
Harbertson was always the Wrexham danger man and when Walls waited for an offside decision, the Wrexham man headed just over. Posh had a close shave just before the interval when Jones’ side-footed shot looked a certain equaliser but Walls changed direction cleverly and kicked the ball off the line.
Half-time Peterborough Utd 1 v Wrexham 0
Rayner earned himself a big cheer just after the interval when he went through to chase Ray Smith’s pass and Fox had to slam the ball past his own post for a corner.
Wrexham still put in some good approaches and Walls was happy to find a drive by Styles coming straight at him.
Norris put in some excellent work in defence and attack and, when he had the Wrexham rearguard struggling, he tried a shot which went just outside. Another let off for Peterborough came when Rigby mistimed a bouncing ball and let Hunter in who also mistimed it.
Although Wrexham were obviously having the better of the second half, Peterborough put on some fantastic pressure during a sensational spell half an hour after the interval. A dazzling move by United ended when Emery crashed a great left foot shot against the post.
Bly headed just over the top. Then United scored the goal which looked like making the game certain. It was in the 79th minute when McNamee accepted Smith’s pass, danced round Holland and Davis and crashed in a goal to the far corner.
Just five minutes later, Posh scored their third goal with Terry Bly getting his first goal for the United with a fine header.
Referee Luty kept good control of the game. The United strip given by local newsagent, Mr Jimmy Green looked superb. And the ball, presented by the customers of the Hand & Heart, must have been a good one – ask Denis, Peter and Terry.
Posh: Jack Walls, Ellis Stafford, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Derek Norris, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Wrexham: Arthur Johnson, Reg Holland, Ally McGowan, Fred Davis, Alan Fox, Archie Styles, Gren Jones, Arfon Griffiths, Bernard Evans, Ron Harbertson and Reg Hunter.
Goal scorers: Dennis Emery, Peter McNamee and Terry Bly.