Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 1 v Leeds Utd 0
Referee: P.E. Tydesley
The Posh resurrected their reputation as tenacious cup fighters with this battling display of Herculean proportion.
The merry men of London Road once again donned the mantle of FA Cup giant-killers to cruise into the 4th round.
Posh in fact, gleefully took the chance of directly another telling blow to shake the foundations of the Elland Road outfit.
Billy Bremner had skippered Leeds to a 4-1 FA Cup victory at London Road in 1974, but 11 years later he was manager on a day of shame for the once-proud Yorkshire club.
Leeds, now mid-table in Division Two were still miles ahead of John Wile’s basement division strugglers. Few anticipated the drama that lay ahead.
In fact eleven years ago Leeds had the game wrapped up by half time, the only wrapping Bremner is doing now might be for some belated New Year presents.
Bremner will not draw much consolation from the fact that this was one of the most pulsating cup ties ever witnessed by a Peterborough crowd.
Both teams finished with ten men after Posh keeper John Turner had been stretchered off with a broken leg 20 minutes from the end of the match and Leeds midfielder Scott Sellars was sent off by referee Peter Tyldesley.
Add to that two disallowed Sellars goals and an attempted pitch invasion by Leeds hooligans in the final seconds and you have a very lethal cocktail.
Posh super sub Greig Shepherd was the man to unwittingly stir up the sparks on a bitterly cold snow-swept London Road pitch.
Having been brought into the action as early as the 26th minute for the injured Errington Kelly, Shepherd stole the glory with his second half header following a volleyed cross from Francis Cassidy in the 67th minute.
A Gary Worrall corner was only cleared as far as Francis Cassidy who nonchalantly volleyed the ball back for Shepherd.
The Scottish born striker, revelling in the arctic clime, found himself in acres of space and sent in a fine looping 18 yard header past a statue like Mervyn Day.
Three minutes later came the only black spot on a day of triumph with the injury to Posh goalkeeper John Tuner.
He was felled in a collision with former Manchester Utd and Brighton forward Andy Ritchie. Lil Fuccillo finally put the ball out of play to end Turner’s agony. Turner was whisked off to hospital and left-back Martin Pike took over the goalkeeping gloves.
It says much for the Posh defence that he was not called upon to make a single save.
Leeds did have their moment, though, in these frenetic closing stages.
Not least involving tiny midfielder Scott Sellars who saw his second “goal” disallowed for offside in the game in the 86th minute.
He was so incensed with the linesman’s decision that it earned him a booking and after more words with referee Peter Tyldesey he got his marching orders.
Then, with virtually the last kick of the match Andy Ritchie drove the ball against the top of the bar from 20 yards. Pike, no doubt, will put it down to good judgement.
All that heady action, though belied a fairly enterprising and hard fought opening half.
As the players struggled to combat the bone-hard, rutted pitch much of the play centred in midfield.
Cassidy was handed the best opportunity of breaking the deadlock in the fifth minute but despite being in the clear he shot straight at Day.
Leeds, with some strong running and equally hard tackling, gradually began to take the initiative.
A probing run by full back Dennis Irwin culminated in a low cross which was hammered home by Sellars only to be ruled offside.
But if Leeds had promised then, some resilient backs to the wall aggression by Posh made sure the threat did not come about.
John Wile, making his umpteenth comeback and failing to show his age at 38, led the back four by example.
Lil Fuccillo was grafting hard and refused to let the younger Leeds midfielders get the better of him.
And up front the tireless running of Jackie Gallagher and Shepherd unsettled the Leeds defence.
The hard, snow covered pitch was obviously proving a great leveller and it was Posh who used it to their advantage. Leeds goal bound efforts became fewer and weaker while the home side had the greater drive, and urgency.
Greig Shepherd sealed the tide with a goal. The rest is history.
Posh player-manager Wile said: “It was a fine win, but marred by John’s injury. We were better than Leeds all afternoon.”
The Posh: John Turner, Alan Paris, Martin Pike, Francis Cassidy, John Wile, Trevor Slack, Andy Kowalski, Lil Fuccillo, Jackie Gallagher, Errington Kelly (sub Greig Shepherd 26 mins) and Garry Worrall.
Leeds: Mervyn Day, Dennis Irwin, Scott Sellars, Ian Snodin, Neil Aspin, Andy Linighan, Andy Ritchie, Peter Swann, Ian Baird, Gary Hamsom, Martin Dickinson.
Unused sub: John Sheridan.
Goal scorer: The Posh – Greig Shepherd 67 mins.
Sending Off: Scott Sellars (Leeds Utd)