Crystal Palace v Posh 7th September 1960
Venue: Selhurst Park, South Norwood
Score: Crystal Palace 0 v Peterborough Utd 2
More glory was added to the name of Peterborough Utd in London when they attracted a record crowd of 36,478 to watch them topple Crystal Palace from their place at the top of the League table with an exhibition of footballing skill that must have made many of the watching First and Second Division managers green with envy.
Goals by wingers Billy Hails and Peter McNamee did the trick, and with the defence becoming the first to prevent Crystal Palace scoring this season Posh have now asserted themselves as the number one club in Division Four.
And on this performance there is no one who can dispute their claim. Thousands of Londoners went home convinced once and for all that Posh are really the tops when it comes to team work and skill.
The home team began with a rush and right half Petchey forced his way through only to mis-kick in front of goal. Dennis Emery and McNamee combined well to hit back for Posh and when the ball came loose on the right Jim Rayner fired a snap shot which brought a brilliant save from Rouse.
United forced their first corner on the right after five minutes play and this brought the first goal of the match. The ball came out to Jim Walker who lobbed it back into the penalty area. Terry Bly went up with the centre half and the ball was nudged on to Hails who managed to scramble it into the unguarded net.
United very nearly increased their lead only seconds later when Bly hammered in a shot which went only inches wide of the post.
When Jack Walls stopped a shot from Johnny Byrne he was almost charged over the line by Woan but managed to recover his balance and sent the forward away again. Bly burst through the defence and the goalkeeper had to dive at his feet to save.
Posh were obviously not finding the poor floodlights to their liking but they had an answer every time to the “pretty-pretty” play of the Palace forwards and wing halves. The home team persisted in making unnecessary passing movements and although they looked dangerous United’s attack always seemed to have more purpose.
Keith Ripley settled down to play a great game at left half, and indeed the entire United side played fast entertaining football which had the large crowd frequently applauding.
A corner from McNamee was headed into the goalkeeper’s arms by Bly while at the other end Petchey saw his high swerving shot go just outside.
There was a let off for Posh after 30 minutes when Byrne rounded Norman Rigby and closed in on goal before sending in a powerful shot. Walls got one hand to the ball and turned it round the post.
Byrne did a lot of good work from the right wing and Palace always seemed likely to get an equaliser. But United’s defence was magnificent under pressure and they fully deserved to retain their single goal lead at the interval.
McNamee twice teed the ball up for Emery early in the second half but somehow it was scrambled clear before he could get in a telling shot.
Palace were now fighting desperately for an equaliser, but still they persisted with their fancy attacking movements which played right into the hands of the Posh defence.
And as the game progressed so it slowly dawned on the huge crowd of Londoners that they were going to see their side beaten for the first time this season.
Posh gained confidence with every passing minute and their attacking movements were a delight to watch. It took all the skill of the Palace defenders to keep them out.
Hails and McNamee figured in attack after attack and towards the end little was seen of the much praised Palace forward line. Top scorer Johnny Byrne was completely tied up by Rigby.
Then after 73 minutes the tension was eased for Posh with a brilliant goal by McNamee. The left winger dribbled the ball in towards the penalty area, slipped it to Emery, and received a perfect return pass to enable him to crack the ball hard and low into the net.
Palace “gave up the ghost” and the rest of the game was virtually an exhibition of attacking football by Posh. The home side staged one final attack but when the final whistle went United were in possession again and heading for goal.
The crowd gave the Posh players a rousing reception as they left the field, supporters in the stand stood applauding for several minutes. It was obvious to everyone that Posh deserved to take over the number one spot in the Fourth Division.
Posh: Jack Walls, Ellis Stafford, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Keith Ripley, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Crystal Palace: Rouse, Lunnis, Noakes, Petchey, Long, McNichols, Gavin, Woan, Byrne, Summersby and Heckman.
Goals: Posh – Billy Hails 5 mins and Peter McNamee 73 mins.