Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 4 v Rochdale 3
Officials: J. Taylor, G.W. Lee & R.A. Kibble.
When all the arguments and criticisms are over and done with the only thing that will be remembered about this game is the fact that United won. But at the moment it must be admitted that they were a little lucky to come out of this with both points.
It must have been exasperating for the forwards to snatch the lead on three occasion only to see the advantage squandered by the defence each time. Yet the attack must bear some of the blame for an off form performance.
Dennis Emery was a shadow of the Emery who has thrilled London Road crowds in the past. He seems to have lost his enthusiasm and does not draw defenders to him with the same skill.
The United forward line could be the best in the League, but we have yet to see them playing at their best. In this game they were disappointing to say the least.
On the other hand, however, they got four goals and might have had one or two more with a little more steadiness.
They made a shaky start and it came as a welcome relief to the large crowd when Posh went ahead after 13 minutes of indecision. What a splendid goal it was… Ray Smith took a pass from Hails and cleverly back heeled the ball for the right winger to put in a shot which rolled slowly, but surely, into the corner of the net.
Danger man in the Rochdale attack was centre forward Frank Lord and his effort at an equaliser was miraculously headed to safety from under crossbar by Jim Walker.
But Lord didn’t give up and after 23 minutes he leapt high to head a perfect centre from a right wing corner.
It looked as though Lord ushered Rigby out of the way to get the ball, but still it was a great effort by this player who has three times been out of the game with broken limbs.
The visitors remained on top up to half time with United’s forwards not holding the ball long enough to give any respite to their own defence.
It was anyone’s game at half time. McNamee lost a good chance by hesitating in front of an open goal but he put Posh into the lead from a Hails’ cross after 56 minutes.
Lord should have equalised again shortly afterwards but he shot straight into Walls’ arms when clear of the defence.
The equaliser came on 61 minutes when Bodell put a smart pass through for Cairns to fire in a snap shot. Walls got his hands to the ball but could only parry it against the inside of an upright.
Twelve minutes later Hails was brought down by Powell only yards from goal and Smith scored from the penalty spot to put Posh ahead once more.
But Lord wasn’t finished. He rose high above the United defence to head home a left wing corner kick from a most acute angle.
Time was running out quickly when Posh staged a desperate final rally down the right wing which produced two corners in rapid succession.
From the second the ball came out to McNamee who saw his shot rebound from an upright to Emery. Dennis cracked home a great shot and with the goalkeeper beaten full back Powell knocked the ball out with his hands.
Smith stepped up to take his second penalty of the afternoon and give Posh the points.
Posh: Jack Walls, Ellis Stafford, Jim Walker, Jim Rayner, Norman Rigby, Derek Norris, Billy Hails, Dennis Emery, Terry Bly, Ray Smith and Peter McNamee.
Rochdale: Jimmy Jones, Stan Milburn, Dai Powell, Norman Bodell, Ray Aspden, Alan Bushby, Ron Barnes, Ron Phoenix, Frank Lord, Ronnie Cairns and Jimmy Brown.
Goals: Posh – Billy Hails 13 mins, Peter McNamee 56 mins and Ray Smith (2) 73 mins & 90 mins. Rochdale – Frank Lord (2) 23 mins & 80 mins Ronnie Cairns 61 mins.