Darlington v Posh 26 Dec 60

Venue: Feethams, Darlington

Attendance: 9,325

Score: Darlington 2 v Peterborough Utd 2

Referee: J. Powell.

What a pity United had to have their Christmas spoilt by more of the weak refereeing which has already cost them precious away points this season. Not only did the official in charge ruin what might have otherwise have been an exciting return game between two teams fighting for championship honours, but he made it so obvious that he favoured the home side, and in fact gave them a share of the points.

In fairness it must be said that Darlington just about deserved a draw, but to have it handed to them on a plate was not a fitting end to a splendid second half duel between their attack and the United rearguard.

The goal that caused all the trouble came after 76 minutes when United were leading 2-1 and Darlington were pressing hard for an equaliser.

The United defence was equal to everything the forwards could throw at them, and although it was not relying on an offside trap the Darlington centre forward was yards offside as he rushed in to beat Jack Walls to the ball.

A linesman flagged but the referee ignored his signal and turned down all United’s appeals. In order to get the game re-started he did not bother to get the ball from the back of the net, but ran across to the trainers bench (to the home team trainer of course) and fetched another ball.

This amazing exhibition was the climax to some poor refereeing which at times had even the linesmen puzzled. United’s players bore the brunt of the strange decisions and it was no surprise when, after making several appeals to the referee, Ray Smith had his name taken for a foul.

The Darlington pitch was very muddy indeed and the players of both teams had difficulty in keeping their feet. Many fouls were unintentional but, encouraged by the crowd the referee insisted on penalising Posh for every minor offence intentional or not.

The largest crowd to see a League match at Darlington this season saw some spirited openings by the home side who were back at full strength with the inclusion of centre half Ron Greener.

Hails came near to scoring when his shot was saved by Tinsley at the second attempt, and then after 15 minutes Darlington went ahead with a great goal.

Hawkes managed to elude Jim Walker and fired in a sharply angled shot from the wing, the ball just missing the fingertips of Walls.

In the next attack Darlington’s right winger saw his shot on the run rebound from the foot of an upright and for a long spell the Posh defence had to withstand some heavy pressure.

Hawkes should have scored again when faced with an empty net, but he shot hurriedly and wide.

Some good interceptions by Jim Rayner and Keith Ripley got Posh on the attack again and Smith was very unlucky when his shot was deflected inches wide of a post. McNamee saw his shot rebound into the goalkeeper’s arms, and at half time Posh were trailing 1-0.

Within four minutes of the restart, however, Bly headed a brilliant equaliser from a smart centre from Billy Hails.

Billy took a quick throw in near the corner flag, had the ball returned to him by Smith, and then Bly leapt high to head the ball home.

Nine minutes later Hails appeared to have run the ball out of play when he put over another great centre and there was Bly again to head the ball downwards over the goal line.

Darlington were not dismayed and replied with an all-out attack which brought the best out of the Posh defence. Attack after attack was beaten off and it seemed that nothing would get past Jack Walls.

Then came the hotly disputed goal to give the home side a share of the points. In the closing minutes of the game Posh returned to the attack , but although McNamee had a shot blocked on the line there was no further score.

Teams:

Posh: Jack Walls, Dick Whittaker, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Keith Ripley, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.

Darlington: Tinsley, Henderson, Mulholland, Furphy, Greener, Spencer, Rayment, Milner, L. Robson, Hawkes and Baxter.

Goals: Posh – Terry Bly (2) 49 mins and 58 mins. Darlington – Hawkes 15 mins and Robson 76 mins.

Caution: Posh – Ray Smith.