Millwall v Posh 22 Apr 61
Venue: The Den, New Cross, London
Score: Millwall 4 v Peterborough Utd 3
Referee: R. Mann.
This was League football at its best…Millwall, with an outside chance of gaining promotion, fought like demons, while United, still requiring a single point for the Championship, replied with their best exhibition for many weeks and came within inches of clinching the title.
But Millwall always appeared to have the edge when it came to goals. Twice United equalised in the first half only to see the home team snatch the lead again just before the interval.
And in the second half when Millwall swept into a 4-2 lead the Posh stormed back into a ceaseless attack which produced one goal and a score of near misses.
An injury to Jim Rayner caused manager Jimmy Hagan to make his first team change for several games, Roy Banham coming in at right half.
What a test it was for Roy….The Millwall forwards had the run of the ball in the first half and United’s defence seemed a little suspect. Veteran centre forward Ackerman, led Norman Rigby a merry dance and a lot of work fell on the United full backs.
Posh’s defence has not been so hard pressed for a long time.
The United’s forwards had to do much of their own fetching and carrying, but even so they looked capable of scoring a lot of goals.
Millwall didn’t give an inch, however, and it was not surprising when they took the lead after eight minutes.
A harmless looking move on the left wing threw the United defence off balance and as the ball came inside to him Jones was able to place his shot out of Walls’s reach.
Posh got on level terms after 22 minutes. A Millwall attack was beated off, the ball came out to Emery in midfield and Dennis was off in a flash.
He drew the defence, swept the ball out to McNamee, and the left winger’s accurately placed centre was just within reach of Bly who stabbed the ball into the roof of the net.
Three minutes later Posh had a let off when a shot from Burridge beat Walls, hit the inside of an upright, rolled across the goal line and was scrambled away.
After 34 minutes, however, Burridge got his reward for some skilful play. Jack Walls got one hand to his shot from the left wing, but could not stop the ball rolling over the line.
Four minutes later McNamee put United all square again. Mac took advantage of a slip by the full back and cut in to beat the Millwall goalkeeper with a well judged ground shot.
Millwall got a decisive goal a minute before the interval when Walls came out of his goal to clear a cross from Ackerman and was left stranded as Spears booted the ball home.
In the second half United began to dominate the play and were unlucky when the home team increased their lead following a free kick.
The goal was well taken by Burridge whose header gave Walls no chance, but it was against the run of play and made United’s fight to save a point even more difficult.
But United are fine fighters. They threw just about everything at the Millwall goal, playing like champions.
Hails and McNamee forced corner after corner. Three times Bly came within inches of scoring, twice hitting the woodwork when it seemed certain that the ball must go in.
After 74 minutes, however, he put the finishing touch to a short corner on the left wing by heading home a brilliant goal.
Then began the fight for the equaliser. But luck was all against United. Bly was particularly unlucky. Once he saw his shot hit the goalkeeper’s arms as he sat helpless on the gound.
Posh: Jack Walls, Dick Whittaker, Jim Walker, Roy Banham, Norman Rigby, Keith Ripley, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Millwall: Ackerman, Burridge, Jones, Spears, rest unknown.
Goals: Posh – Terry Bly (2) 22 mins & 74 mins and Peter McNamee 38 mins. Millwall – Jones 8 mins, Burridge (2) 34 mins & 52 mins and Spears 44 mins.