Posh v Hartlepools Utd 29th August 1960

Venue: London Road, Peterborough

Attendance: 15,245

Score: Peterborough Utd 3 v Hartlepools Utd 2

Referee: F. Reid

Posh win – but it should have been so easy!

London Road roared with frenzied excitement as fourth division opponents Hartlepools Utd stormed back and stayed in the game when they should have been fighting to stave off double figures.

Not for a long time have Peterborough fans seen so much pressure on one goal as they saw on the Hartlepools end during the first half.

It was during this fantastic pressure that Posh could have scored half a dozen goals or more.

Billy Hails was in tremendous form during this onslaught. He had Hartlepools goalkeeper Joe Wilkinson on overtime as shots fired in … he hit the angle, he hit the goalkeepers knees and he saw a certain goal headed right out of the gaping mouth by Clydesdale.

It was like this for half an hour. The score was still 0-0 instead of a comfortable lead for Posh.

Terry Bly’s terrific header from Hails’ centre in the 35th minute and a grand slam drive from Hails seven minutes later put Peterborough two up at the interval.

This ended a spell of gallant defending by the Hartlepools rearguard. Not always coming out with footballing skill, they could at least be relied upon to fall back and pack the goal to thwart Peterborough’s constant attacking.

But in the second half came a startling change in the Hartlepools outlook. Instead of falling back on kick anywhere defending , the northerners looked for their men and put in some probing attacks.

Although their attacks did not bear the robust element that Carlisle’s grand stand finish had in the previous game, it was the same kind of fighting spirit under which Peterborough faltered.

United so safe in the air at Hartlepools – Jack Walls found that the greasy ball eluded his grasp in the 56th minute as Harry Clark put over a corner. Ken Johnson the visitors only forward with any sign of skill, kicked it past a row of defenders on the line.

Peterborough saw the red light and flailed their way back into the attack. Hails was slammed to the ground as he danced through the defence. A partial clearance by George Lackenby and Peter McNamee came weaving in. This time, George Patterson tackled – and McNamee fell flat on his face.

The referee awarded a penalty and Ray Smith’s 68th minute kick gave Wilkinson no chance at all. Now all United’s forwards have scored in this season’s league games.

Back came Hartlepools and again they pierced the Peterborough defence. This time Bobby Follands 75th minute chase ended with the ball skidding past Norman Rigby to put Johnson through. Walls hesitated and allowed the Hartlepools opportunist to put his side back in the game.

Derek Norris showed no ill effects from the shaky game he had at Carlisle but Roy Banham’s return to the first team saw him limping after the first half hour.  Although he appeared to run the pain away, he was noticeably struggling during the closing stages of the game.

Now that Peterborough are at the top, every game becomes something of a cup tie. But while supporters may not expect the Posh to thrash all comers, they do not want to see their team so much on top without getting goals, only to struggle late in the game.

Verdict: Peterborough earned the points, but the score gives no indication of their superiority it only serves to show how Hartlepools fought.

Teams:

Posh: Jack Walls, Ellis Stafford, Jim Walker, Roy Banham, Norman Rigby, Derek Norris, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.

Hartlepools: Joe Wilkinson, Ken Waugh, Bill Clydesdale, Billy Anderson, Ken Johnson, George Lackenby, George Patterson, Bobby Lumley, Bobby Folland, Harry Clark and Ken Butler.

Goals: Posh – Terry Bly, Billy Hails and Ray Smith. Hartlepools – Ken Johnson (2).