Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 3 v Northampton Town 3
Referee: J. Powell.
United’s forwards again had to come to the rescue in Posh’s ‘derby’ match against Northampton Town as the defence creaked, cracked and crumbled.
Perhaps it is not fair to put all the blame on Jack Walls, Ellis Stafford and Roy Banham, because it was obvious to all that the entire defence was woefully inadequate in the opening 25 minutes during which time the Cobblers built up a commanding 3-0 lead.
But the fact remains that something drastic has to be done about United’s rearguard. Northampton very nearly did as they pleased in the opening stages of the match and that ‘two in three minutes’ opening was a bitter disappointment for the record crowd.
Praise the forwards for the that magnificent fight back after the interval, but fault them a little for not giving the defence more support in the early stages.
Perhaps it would be an exaggeration to describe this match as a soccer classic, but the fans certainly got full value for their money and their patient wait in the rain.
There were thrills galore for supporters of both teams and the only disappointment came when the Cobblers left winger Fowler had to leave the field shortly after the interval. Had he not been injured then Northampton must surely have won despite United’s great second half revival.
The match had a sensational opening and shock followed shock for the home team fans. It was almost unbelievable when Northampton built up a two goal lead in the first three minutes.
The first came after only 50 seconds. Posh had been given no time to settle down when Stafford prodded the ball for a corner in the Cobbler’s first raid. The ball came in waist high and with not a single United defender moving to make a clearance Leck cleverly flicked the ball backwards into the net.
Walls, Stafford and Jim Walker who were guarding the goal line looked aghast, and it was quite obvious that they had not recovered from this initial shock two minutes later when Northampton struck again.
A long clearance completely deceived Norman Rigby and Deakin was on the ball in a flash. He hurried his shot and hung his head as he mis-kicked, but to everyone’s surprise the ball bounced slowly into the net out of the reach of Walls.
Eighty seven minutes left for play and Posh had to get three to win. Even at that stage the fans seemed confident that the task was not beyond United’s sharp shooting forwards – once they got going.
But they couldn’t get going. Northampton’s defence had an answer to every move and only Billy Hails seemed likely to get through with a chance to shoot.
Walls got a little of his confidence back with a good one handed stop from Olah’s snap shot, but he was beaten again after 25 minutes, and again it was a corner kick which produced the goal.
Leck chased a long pass on the right to in a corner. Olah’s kick was headed on by Branston and with all the time in the world Fowler nipped in from his wing to deflect the ball home with his head.
And so at the interval United were trailing three nil with seemingly little hope of ever getting back into the game.
“Let’s hope someone gives them a good talking to”, was the popular interval comment. Someone did and they came out a very different team.
Right from the kick off the forwards swept into a dazzling attack .Terry Bly wandered out to the right to receive the ball after a Hails Emery switch. His centre swung over the Cobblers defence to the far post and McNamee burst through to head the ball downwards over the line.
From then on it was all Posh. Northampton lost Fowler with the score at 3-1 and they were really up against it.
United threw everything and with Bly throwing himself at the ball time and time again the visitors were lucky not to concede at hatful of goals.
Twice Bly missed by inches with brilliant headers and on one occasion he flung himself forward into the net in an effort to connect with a centre from Hails.
No defence could withstand such a hammering and it was no surprise when McNamee made it 3-2 after 63 minutes by toe ending the ball over the advancing defence into the net.
Two minutes later the score was level when Dennis Emery got two chances at a shot at goal and made no mistake with his second attempt.
Twenty five minutes left and United went all out for victory. Their great effort was very nearly spent, however, and the Cobblers began to hit back with three good attacks down the right wing.
Nine minutes from the end there was an anxious moment for the Posh fans when Wright hustled the ball over the line from close in, but the referee disallowed the goal because of pushing.
Bly led United in some desperate last minute attacks but Northampton closed their ranks like veterans and Posh had to be content with a single point.
Posh: Jack Walls, Ellis Stafford, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Roy Banham, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Northampton: Brewer, Claypole, Phillips, Cooke, Gale, Terry Branston, Olah, Leck, Deakin, Wright and Fowler.
Goals: Posh – Peter McNamee 46 mins & 63 mins and Dennis Emery 65 mins. Northampton – Leck 1 min, Deakin 3 mins and Fowler 25 mins.