Memory Match: Peterborough United 4-4 Imps (1972)

Saturday 12th February 1972

Peterborough United 4 Lincoln City 4 (Football League Division Four)

Former Manchester United and Scotland centre forward David Herd had been appointed manager of Lincoln the previous March but had been unable to prevent yet another re-election application for the Imps, writes Malcolm Johnson.

The current season had seen a big improvement however, with the Imps handily placed just outside the top four for most of it thanks to the results provided by an effective 4-3-3 formation. There had been a slight blip during December with the side hit by injuries, but Herd had pulled off a good bit of transfer business with the sale of top scorer Phil Hubbard to Norwich for £20,000 just before Christmas. Almost the whole of this money was spent on strengthening the defence with the signing of centre half Tommy Spencer from Workington and bringing in a striker every bit as prolific as Hubbard in the shape of Dixie McNeil from Northampton. Since then, a run of three home wins and a 2-2 draw at promotion rivals Grimsby had put City in fifth place, only outside the top four on goal average.

Peterborough United, after their election to the Football League in place of Gateshead in 1960 had risen immediately to the Third Division where they had remained until 1968 when they were demoted for financial irregularities and were now in their fourth season back in Division Four. Managed for the last three years by former Newcastle United midfielder Jim Iley, after a good start to the season they had spent most of it just below halfway in the division and were on a run of eight league games without a win, the last seven of these having been draws and they were currently in 15th place.

The teams were:

City:

  1. John Kennedy
  2. Graham Taylor
  3. George Peden
  4. Frankie McMahon
  5. Tommy Spencer
  6. Terry Branston
  7. John Worsdale
  8. John Kurila
  9. Dixie McNeil
  10. Percy Freeman
  11. Dave Smith
  12. Mick Bloor

Peterborough

  1. Mick Drewery
  2. Frank Noble
  3. Jack Carmichael
  4. Dennis Oakes
  5. Chris Turner
  6. Brian Wright
  7. Bobby Moss
  8. Peter Price
  9. Ritchie Barker
  10. Ollie Conmy
  11. Tommy Robson
  12. Mickey Darrell

The Imps

Frankie McMahon

In goal for the Imps was 32-year-old part-time professional and schoolteacher John Kennedy. He now had over 200 appearances behind him after being one of the players signed by manager Ron Gray as part of his revitalisation of the squad during the summer of 1967.

Both full backs were also Gray signings. On the right, Graham Taylor had been signed from Third Division Grimsby Town for a fee of £4,000 in the summer of 1968, dropping down into the Fourth Division for the first time after making almost 200 appearances for the Mariners. He was partnered by the popular George Peden, signed from Scottish club Hearts a few months before Kennedy, and now the club’s longest-serving player. In the heart of an experienced back four was 33-year-old Terry Branston, now in his second season with City after long spells with Northampton and Luton who he had twice captained to promotion. Alongside him was January signing Spencer who had enjoyed success as a striker for York City earlier in his career and showed he still had a knack for putting the ball in the net with two goals in his first four games for City.

In the centre of City’s midfield three was the uncompromising John Kurila, signed by David Herd from Colchester in December. He had spent most of his career as a defender, including playing alongside Branston in Northampton Town’s only season in the top flight. However, Herd had quickly moved him into midfield to provide the strength that City had missed since the injury to powerhouse Trevor Meath earlier in the season. To complement Kurila in a well-balanced midfield were the energetic Frankie McMahon and the skilful Dave Smith. The flame-haired McMahon had been signed by Herd from Irish club Waterford in the summer, while the ever-popular Smith had joined in 1968 at the same time as Graham Taylor and was already well on his way to becoming a City legend, with a final total of over 400 appearances for the club.

Up front was big striker Percy Freeman, another player who would achieve legend status. The former lorry driver had joined on a free transfer in the summer of 1970 from West Bromwich Albion. Although Newark-born he had played for a variety of local clubs in the West Midlands area before joining the First Division outfit for whom he had made just three appearances. After a total of 15 goals in 29 games in an injury-hit season last time around he currently had 13 goals from 26 games. Alongside him was the 25-year-old Dixie McNeil, signed to replace top scorer Phil Hubbard in January and proving to be every bit as prolific with a goal in each of his four games so far. Another Herd signing from the close season was former Stoke City youngster John Worsdale who had joined after a handful of first team games for the Potteries side. A right winger, he had missed most of the first three months of the season through injury, but had recently come into the side in the absence of Allan Gilliver and John Ward and was to prove effective as a striker.

City substitute was 22-year-old full back Mick Bloor, who like Worsdale had been signed in the summer from Stoke’s reserves. First choice from the start of the season he had recently lost his place to George Peden but was shortly to regain it when Graham Taylor suffered an injury which would keep him out for most of the rest of the season.