Posh v Stockport County Play Off Final – 25 May 1992
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Stockport County 1
Referee: : M. Bodenham
Hail King Kenny of London Road and Wembley!
Two goals from star striker Ken Charlery turned a momentous Posh season into a glorious celebration.
Wembley was a fitting stage for this proud and plucky Posh side to celebrate their greatest triumph. A 2-1 third division play-off victory over Stockport achieved in the most dramatic fashion, has ensured a Posh appearance in the upper echelons of English football for the first time in their history.
It is the latest chapter in an unbelievable Posh story. One and a half years of uninterrupted success culminating in a place in the newly formed first division!
And they did it in a manner that has become their trademark this season. When disaster loomed the team with the biggest heart in football picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and claimed the biggest success of their lives. And what a way to clinch it! Charlery’s match winner, scored in the last minute of normal time, would have graced any final of any competition in the world.
It was the one classy moment of a tense occasion littered with long balls and sweaty collisions – but it was worth the wait. Marcus Ebdon’s raking 30 yard pass found King Ken rampaging down the right. A regal nod of the head took the ball past the last defender and the perfect lob from 12 yards flew over Stockport Goalkeeper Neil Edwards. It was a magnificent goal all the more creditable as it happened just two minutes after Stockport thought they had taken the game into extra-time.
Substitute Paul Wheeler picked up a hopeful punt forward and laid the ball perfectly into the path of Andy Preece wide on the right side of the box. Preece’s firmly struck shot slipped through the grasp of Posh ‘keeper Fred Barber leaving Kevin Francis the simplest header into an empty net. Barber for one kneeled to Charlery at the finish. High drama at the death gave an edge to a match spoilt possibly by the rewards on offer.
Posh started brightly with Bobby Barnes threatening mayhem whenever he was in possession but struggled the longer the game went on through a failure to secure second phase possession.
Much of the action by-passed Mick Halsall and Marcus Ebdon in the Posh midfield leaving wingers Barnes and Sterling as spectators. Barnes regularly found early on by Ebdon, had the first two shots of the game seeing a vicious effort deflected wide on nine minutes before blasting narrowly over two minutes later. Charlery wasted Posh’s best chance of the opening half volleying over with his left foot from eight yards after Sterling nodded down Noel Luke’s cross.
But Stockport grew stronger as the first half wore on. Posh, probably sensibly, chose to defend deeper than normal allowing 6ft 7ins Francis to flick the ball on in the hope of picking up an undirected ball first. It worked mostly, but pressure on Posh peaked in the final five minutes of the first half-half when a string of corners was forced. From the first initially cleared, centre-back Tony Barras headed wide from an unmarked position on the six yard line. But Posh generally defended well.
Luke timed his tackles to perfection, Dave Robinson was his usual superb self, Steve Welsh battled manfully while Ronnie Robinson chose the greatest occasion to give his best display in Posh colours.
The second half opened quietly apart from sterling picking up Charlery’s headed flick and drilling a left footer straight at the ‘keeper. But the game erupted into life with a goal that will be talked about for years to come. Barnes flung over a corner, Charlery headed against the bar and the ball dropped down a la Geoff Hurst’s in the World Cup Final 1966. Thankfully with the same result. The lines-man gave a goal and no amount of Stockport protests would change his mind.
The protest doubled 15 minutes later when Posh benefited from another marginal decision. Stockport attacked furiously when behind. Jim Gannon nodded wide after Barber failed to collect a Chris Beaumont cross. Lee Todd drove over the bar from 10 yards when unmarked at the same far post.
But Francis thought he had headed an equaliser after Preece had flicked on a Beaumont cross. A linesman had ruled in Posh’s favour again, but to be fair he had missed a more blatant offside in the build up to the ‘goal’.
Barber saved well from Todd 20 minutes from time and Posh seemed to have weathered the storm. Charlery almost extended the lead after collecting Adcock’s astute pass, but his 20 yard curler was well saved by Edwards.
Barnes then jinked down the right before crossing just too high for Adcock and Charlery. Adcock lunged at Charlery’s perfect cross, but poked the ball wide. It didn’t seem to matter until Stockport found their equaliser.
Immediately substitute Lee Howarth on for the injured Welsh, was forced to clear from under his own bar after Francis had nodded into the danger area.
But then Charlery made his stately appearance. Five minutes of injury time and a few hairy goalmouth scrambles couldn’t spoil his moment of glory.
King for a day! Probably forever in the eyes of about 25,000 devoted and delirious subjects.
Posh: Fred Barber, Noel Luke, Ronnie Robinson, Mick Halsall, Dave Robinson, Steve Welsh (sub Lee Howarth), Worrell Sterling, Marcus Ebdon, Ken Charlery, Tony Adcock and Bobby Barnes.
Unused sub: Steve Cooper.
Stockport: Neil Edwards, Darren Knowles, Lee Todd, Dave Frain, Tony Barras, Bill Williams, Jim Gannon, Peter Ward (sub Paul Wheeler), Kevin Francis, Chris Beaumont and Andy Preece.
Unused sub: Andy Thorpe
Goal scorers: Posh – Ken Charlery 52 mins & 90 mins. Stockport – Kevin Francis 88 mins.
Bookings: Stockport – Kevin Francis (foul)
Shots (on target): Posh – 7 Stockport – 3
Shots (off Target): Posh – 7 Stockport 8
Corners: Posh – 5 Stockport – 7
Offside: Posh – 3 Stockport – 5
Fouls (conceded): Posh – 12 Stockport – 5