Northampton Town v Posh 25 Feb 61
Venue: County Ground, Northampton
Score: Northampton Town 0 v Peterborough Utd 3
Referee: G. McCabe.
Peterborough Utd’s splendid 3-0 victory at Northampton was their biggest stride ever towards promotion at the end of the season – in fact it can be said that Posh now have one foot firmly in the door of the Third Division.
In one sense it was a surprise victory, because it must be admitted that we all expected better things from the Cobblers on their own ground.
United were far from at their best yet they always seemed to have the measure of Northampton and were never in danger of defeat.
For the five or six thousand United supporters who made the trek to Northampton the match was a little disappointing. It had none of the “bite” everyone expected, and for a game between County neighbours in line for promotion it was a very ordinary affair.
Perhaps this was because United took such a firm grip on things in the first half and then knocked all the fight out of the Cobblers with three grand goals and a hat full of near misses.
And what a mixed up lot the Cobblers turned out to be. New signing Everitt put a good deal of energy and very little thought into his leadership with the result that amateur international Laurie Brown was rarely in the game.
The Cobblers defence was strangely suspect, only goalkeeper Coe distinguishing himself with some finger tip saves from Dennis Emery and Terry Bly.
If Northampton are to gain promotion with United this year they must do a lot better than this.
United’s stars in attack were Ray Smith and Billy Hails. Dennis Emery had a nightmare of a match while Terry Bly found Gale a very watchful customer indeed and Peter McNamee found the ground conditions and the opposing full back far from his liking.
In defence Posh were again well served by Jack Walls. True he had more than his fair share of good fortune, the ball rebounding to safety off his legs on several occasions, but in addition he made some great saves and his handling of the ball in the air was first class.
Norman Rigby returned to play his usual steady reliable game as centre half receiving the best support from Jim Walker and Jim Rayner.
The exceptionally muddy ground made things very difficult for the players and Emery was the first to suffer when in the opening seconds of the game he stuck in the mud with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Minutes later Dennis found himself in a similar position but again he was robbed at the last second.
Posh had a let off after about 15 minutes play when a cross from the left appeared to hit Rayner on the arm inside the penalty area. A linesman waved, Northampton players appealed, but the referee waved play on.
The official evened the score in the very next minute, however, when Bly ran through to score only for the referee to disallow the goal.
United went ahead after 25 minutes when Smith beat two men for possession in the centre circle, and ran forward with the ball before slipping it to Bly to score with a shot off the upright.
Walls pulled some dangerous centres from Fowler out of the air, and when Everitt was put clean through Jack managed to get his legs in the way of the final shot.
Northampton started the second half at a great pace and for a few minutes United were defending desperately. But gradually they took command again in midfield.
Emery put a long pass out to Hails after 58 minutes and the right winger neatly tricked the full back before putting the ball across the goal for McNamee to score with ease.
After 77 minutes, Hails went away again. He dribbled in from his wing before giving the neatest of passes to the inside forwards who between them sold a couple of dummies to Northampton before Smith calmly slipped the ball home.
Posh: Jack Walls, Dick Whittaker, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Keith Ripley, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Northampton: Coe, Phillips, Claypole, Cooke, Gale, Mills, Spelman, Laurie Brown, Everitt, Moran and Fowler.
Goals: Posh – Terry Bly 25 mins, Peter McNamee 58 mins and Ray Smith 77 mins.