Posh v Kettering Town 3rd Qualifying Rd – 30 Oct 1948

Venue: London Road, Peterborough

Attendance: 9,370

Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Kettering Town 1

Referee: E.W. Martin

That football occasion  – Peterborough Utd v Kettering Town, in the divisional final of the FA Cup – is over for another year. United go forward, triumphant; Kettering, beaten, await another chance another season. And the near record crowd are saying, in the words of the popular song, “Thanks for the memory”.

It was that kind of a game – one that was filled with thrills and excitement, one that will not soon be forgotten. Kettering lost, but they made United fight all the way. And United, virtually reduce to ten men when Billy Guest became troubled by an old knee injury soon after the start, fought with a will.

Outstanding in a team which gave of its best from first whistle to last was the half back line – Jim Harkin, Jim Fallon and Bert Cockcroft.

The United owed much to Fallon. To say it was his game, and to a considerable degree, his victory, is not exaggerated praise. He has played consistently well since he came into United’s first team, but on this occasion he surpassed himself. He never put a foot wrong – as Henley, Kettering’s live-wire centre forward found to his discomfort.

As a third back defender Fallon was superb. When the ball was in the air he was always the master, and because of his superiority the Kettering inside men never threatened to the extent expected by their reputation.

Cockroft gave his best performance since joining the United. His ball paly was clean, dainty – and in attack he was an extra forward, particularly useful in this game with Guest little more than a passenger. Twice in the first half CCockroft missed scoring by inches; two volleys grazed the bar.

Manager Jack Blood, replacing the injured Parrott, had a good game. Sometimes he was out-manoeuvred and outpaced by the wily Dunkley, but generally his first time kicking was beyond reproach.

After Kettering’s rush opening, United settled down, and when they attacked we saw for the first time the worth of centre forward Joe Sanderson, promoted fro the reserves. He distributed the ball well, and he shot with speed, with power, and with direction.

He had a successful first match. The first goal, scored by Guest (already limping) in the 23rd minute, was as much his as it was the scorer’s. He jumped into a crowd of players to head Cockroft’s free kick towards the corner of the goal and Guest helped it on its way.

The second goal on 34 minutes was very much Sanderson’s. The ball came right across the goalmouth from Vaughan, and Sanderson, trapping it, pivoted slowly, then sent it hard and low into a corner, well wide of Woodhead.

United could not increase their lead in the second half, and Kettering, with a reorganised team, gave the defence some anxious moments.

When they did score, however, it was not in one of these periods of sustained pressure, but unexpectedly in a quick breakaway, Dunkley tearing down the right wing, sent the ball over very high and it looked as if it would drop well beyond the far post. But Strathie, whose shoulder injury had caused him to move from centre half to left wing, jumped high, almost level with the post, and nodded the ball into a corner.

Some hard knocks were taken by both teams, as the football may not have been as good as some we have seen at London Road, but the game was certainly a thriller.

Posh: Bob Ferguson, Bernie Bryan, Jack Blood, Jim Harkin, Jim Fallon, Bert Cockroft, Tommy Rickards, Harold Huxford, Joe Sanderson, Glyn Vaughan and Billy Guest.

Goal scorers: The Posh – Billy Guest 23 mins and Joe Sanderson 34 mins. Kettering Town – Strathie 71 mins.