Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 4 v Millwall 2
Referee: R. Mann.
They said “Smithie” should be dropped… A couple of weeks ago it was hinted that Jimmy Dunne should come in at inside left… Ray himself admitted that he wasn’t particularly pleased with his play… And then it was bang, bang, bang, as this resilient little bundle of energy hit the fastest hat-trick of the season to prove that a Posh forward line is not complete without him.
This was “Chalkie’s” match. Why they call him “Chalkie” is a mystery, but Ray certainly made his mark against Millwall. His three goals in the first 17 minutes put Posh on the road to a much needed victory and he was desperately unlucky not to score twice more before the interval.
But credit is due to the entire United team for a splendid performance. Millwall were no ‘Midland League mugs’, but they had no answer to United’s crisp attacking football which carried them to 4-0 lead at half time.
The first goal came after only seven minutes play in which Millwall showed themselves as a very determined attacking team.
Alf Ackerman was twice unlucky with snap shots and it seemed as if Posh were in for another very hard game. But it was Dennis Emery who opened the game up in United’s favour. He picked up a loose ball in midfield, beat a couple of defenders on the turn, and then slipped it forward to Smith who had run into an open space clear of the defence.
Millwall goalkeeper Reg Davies spotted the danger but as he advanced to cut off the ball, Smith slipped it past him into the net.
Two minutes later Ray struck again, this time with a wonderfully timed header which deflected the ball into the net from a cross by Billy Hails.
Although they were two goals down Millwall didn’t seem unduly concerned and veteran centre forward Ackerman, well supported by free scoring inside forwards Dave Jones and Peter Burridge, continued to mount some dangerous attacks.
Jack Walls had to make a couple of good saves from the Millwall leader before Posh went further ahead after 17 minutes. Again it was a centre from Hails which led to the goal, Smith cleverly turning the ball into the net from close range to make the score 3-0.
But Ray wasn’t content with a hat-trick and minutes later he blasted home a shot which beat the goalkeeper but rebounded from the legs of a full back on the goal line.
Then again Ray was always in the thick of things the other United forwards were giving him admirable support, Emery and Terry Bly in particular.
After 37 minutes Bly took a hand in the goal scoring with a brilliant solo effort in which he shook off several defenders before cracking home a great shot on the run.
So at half time Posh led 4-0 and were in an unassailable position. After 10 minutes in the second half Emery had a point blank shot saved and at the other end Ackerman was rewarded for his grand efforts when he hooked the ball home via the underside of the bar.
Ten minutes from the end Millwall got another consolation goal when, with the United defence in their only tangle of the game, Jones nipped in to give Walls no chance.
Posh: Jack Walls, Dick Whittaker, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Keith Ripley, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Millwall: Reg Davies, Denis Jackson, Terry Brady, Dave Bumstead, Ray Brand, Alan Anderson, Joey Broadfoot, Dave Jones, Alf Ackerman, Peter Burridge and Alan Spears.
Goals: Posh – Ray Smith (3) 7mins, 9 mins & 17 mins and Terry Bly 37 mins. Millwall – Alf Ackerman 55 mins and Dave Jones 80 mins.