Venue: Boundary Park, Oldham
Score: Oldham Athletic 1 v Peterborough Utd 1
Referee: K. Howley.
Peterborough United were not at their best at Boundary Park and although they delighted Oldham’s largest crowd of the season with their style of play Posh must count themselves fortunate to have shared the points.
At the same time, however, it must be recorded that Oldham’s equaliser from the penalty spot 15 minutes from the end was an injustice. The ball bounced up to hit Whittaker on the arm when no danger threatened.
In the opening minutes of the game it seemed that United were all set for another runaway victory. Peter McNamee saw his shot scrambled off the goal line, and Keith Ripley blasted a 25 yard drive into the net without an Oldham defender having time to move into the path of the ball.
One goal ahead, United continued to play with a confidence that promised more goals to follow.
But somehow they failed to consolidate their splendid start, and prompted by the experience and craft of ex-international Bobby Johnstone, Oldham crept back into the game.
Midway through the first half the home side were very nearly in command and they came close to scoring on several occasions.
For Posh, Ripley produced yet another screaming drive from outside the penalty area and had the Oldham goalkeeper not scrambled the ball to safety via the crossbar the game might well have swung in favour of Posh again.
As it was the home team continued to put the pressure on the United defence, and at times the Peterborough rearguard looked a little shaky.
Jack Walls produced a number of fine saves to keep Oldham at bay. Peterborough came back to make a game of it in the second half, but they were playing well below their best and allowing Oldham to see far too much of the ball.
The large crowd, the biggest at Boundary Park since before the war, began to get restless as Oldham strove for an equaliser. With a little of their confidence restored, Posh seemed to be capable of hanging on to their slender lead.
But they reckoned without Cup Final referee Mr. K. Howley, of Middlesbrough who pointed straight at the penalty spot when the ball bounced awkwardly at the side of Whittaker and struck his forearm.
Despite Whittaker’s protests the kick was taken by full back Branagan, and with half the Oldham team afraid to watch Branagan blasted the ball home with such force that it broke the back of the net.
This equaliser brought the game to life and the large crowd really saw some action in the last 15 minutes.
Oldham had several near misses. Walls making two particularly good saves, while at the other end Bly was fouled just inside the area only for referee Howley to make the mark a foot or so outside the line.
Perhaps a draw was a fair result in the circumstances. Oldham must blame themselves they didn’t win – Posh have only the referee to blame.
Posh: Jack Walls, Dick Whittaker, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Keith Ripley, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Oldham Athletic: Hardie, Branagan, McCue, Wann, Spurdle, Phoenix, Frizzell, Liddell, Lister, Johnstone and Bazley.
Goals: Posh – Keith Ripley 2 mins. Oldham – Branagan 75 mins