Tranmere Rovers v Posh FA Cup 1st Rd 20 Nov 1976
Venue: Prenton Park, Birkenhead
Score: Tranmere Rovers 0 v Peterborough Utd 4
Referee: Alan Seville.
There are barely enough words in the English language to descibe this Posh performance. Brilliant, superb, overwhelming…any or all of them will do.
The only pity is that it did not happen sooner.
All season Posh have threatened to punish a side and Tranmere turned out to be the unlucky ones.
Posh put on the style as never before since their almost unbelieveably bad start to the campaign and produced some scintillating football.
From goalkeeper Keith Waugh to Tommy Robson in the number 11 shirt they were all magnificent. And while it might seem unfair to single out individuals, such was the quality of the Posh football that one invariably looks for the architects behind it.
At Prenton Park it was John Cozens, Jack Carmichael, Robson and surprisingly in view of the scoreline, goalkeeper Waugh who paved the way for victory.
And there were others too. Bob Doyle’s passing was a joy to watch; Peter Hindley played his game for the club; Derek Jefferies and Chris Turner marshalled the defence with chilling efficiency and Ernie Moss showed real ability.
It was a performance to send home around 300 Posh followers in high spirits, it also poses an obvious question – why can’t the same side play with the same style and zest in the league?
There is no easy answer. Tradition might have something to do with it but a cup fighting reputation cannot alone account for a dispaly of this merit.
It was obvious after 10 minutes Posh were going to answer manager Noel Cantwell’s plea for the team “not to go under”.
But they had to weather a storm when first Hindley and then Lee cleared shots off the linefrom Moore and Tynan.
Having taken the worst Tranmere could throw at them Poshtightened their grip on the game gaining a reward in the 35th minute when Cozens scored.
Hindley, overlappingon the right, received a ball from Doyle, released it early and there was Cozens leaping into the air to guidea pefect header past goalkeeper Johnson.
The celebrations had hardly died when Posh scored their second. Again Cozens was the instigator. He tookm the ball into the Tranmere defence, quick stepped his way along the edge of the penalty area before pushing a perfect pass for Moss to score with ease.
The third came from a corner – a move which Cozens said later the team had been practising for months.
Robson took the kick, Cozens nodded it on and Carmichael cruised in from midfield to head a perfect goal past Johnson.
It was Carmichaelfirst senior goal for the club after 247 league and cup games and the on-field celebrations had to be seen to be believed.
It was impossible for Posh to reach the same heights in the second half.
Tranmere beagn to push forward but the Posh defence looked equal to all their efforts and when Kenny and Tynan did manage fine shots, Waugh produced some magical saves.
Two minutes later Tranmere knew it was not their day. After building a neat move on the left the ball flew into Posh’s penalty area, struck Jefferies’ hand and the spot kick was somewhat harshly awarded. Kenny stepped up and rolled the softest of shots wide.
The Posh: Keith Waugh, Peter Hindley, Jeff Lee, Bob Doyle, Chris Turner, Derek Jefferies, Jack Carmichael, Jon Nixon, Ernie Moss, John Cozens, and Tommy Robson.
Unused Sub: Keith Oakes.
Tranmere Rovers: Johnson, Mathias, Flood, Griffiths, Philpotts, Tynan, Peplow, Cliff, Moore, Young and Allen.
Goal scorers: The Posh – John Cozens 35 mins, Ernie Moss 39 mins, Jack Carmichael 43 mins and Tommy Robson 89 mins.