The first occasion the two teams met was over 50 years ago on February 22, 1960 for a floodlit friendly. Starting with this 1960 match the Hammers and The Posh faced each other in three friendly fixtures before meeting for the first competitive match 32 years later. This was a Division One game at London Road on September 12, 1992.
Today’s West Ham players will do something many of the Hammers stars over the last 60 years never did. John Bond, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Ken Brown, Noel Cantwell, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Phil Woosnam, and many others may have played in London Road friendlies but never in a serious encounter.
The rest of this feature highlights the first three friendlies and the first competitive league game between the two clubs.
Back in 1960 Peterborough United was a successful non-league club participating in the old Midland League. This was a league Peterborough had dominated in the late 1950s and they harbored ambitions of progressing into the football league. So to play West Ham was a good opportunity for Peterborough to demonstrate how they could more than hold their own against a football league club. This they achieved in a 2-1 win. At the end of the season Peterborough won sufficient votes to gain election into the old Division Four, ready for season 1960-61.
Inevitably in any non-league v. league team contest, the non-leaguers will take the match more seriously. For Peterborough to play Division One opposition would have been one of their season’s highlights. While for West Ham this was one of at least six friendly matches played in 1959-60. 1960 was a time before the League Cup competition had been introduced and the Hammers relied on friendlies, the Southern Floodlight Cup and Essex Professional Cup to fill the first XI fixture list. But despite it being a friendly the Peterborough game had some intrigue!
On Saturday February 11, 2012 West Ham United play Peterborough United in the npower Championship at their London Road ground. This may be only the second season West Ham United and Peterborough United have met in competitive games, but they have an intriguing history of friendly games.
Posh Play ...
by Roger Hillier
First Friendly Game : February 22, 1960 Peterborough United 2 - 1 West Ham United
This February friendly was only two days after the Hammers’ infamous 5-3 home defeat to Newcastle United. The Newcastle game was a turning point in goal keeper Noel Dwyer’s West Ham United career as it was his last competitive game for the club. However, despite the Newcastle debacle, Dwyer was in goal two days later at London Road. It is likely that the Peterborough friendly was Noel Dwyer’s last first team appearance of any kind before demotion to the reserves and eventual transfer to Swansea Town in the summer of 1960.
The Peterborough Standard’s 1960 coverage included a picture of Noel Dwyer in action watched by Ken Brown.
Walls, Stafford, Walker, Banham, Rigby, Sansby, Hails, Dunne, Raynor, McNamee, Fletcher.
West Ham United:
Noel Dwyer, Noel Cantwell, Joe Kirkup, Geoff Hurst, Ken Brown, Bobby Moore, Tony Scott, Phil Woosnam, John Bond, Andy Smillie, Malcolm Musgrove.
The second unusual angle concerns who played at centre forward. With Vic Keeble injured the club was struggling to find an adequate replacement. Up stepped John Bond! Starting with February’s league game against Chelsea, John wore the number nine shirt for six league games and scored six goals! This included a hat trick against Chelsea! He also filled the centre forward slot in February’s two friendly games against the GB Olympic XI and Peterborough, and he scored in both games. Including the two friendly games, whilst wearing the number nine shirt John scored 10 goals in eight games! Dave Dunmore’s arrival saw John settle back into his more usual full back position.
As for the inaugural friendly between the clubs, West Ham took the lead through John’s 4th minute goal and held the lead until the 67th minute when Posh’s Jimmy Dunne equalised. Their winner from Dunne arrived 10 minutes from time. 11,000 witnessed Peterborough’s victory and their only victory over the Hammers in the 11 friendly and league games played to date.
Second Friendly Game : Saturday August 12, 1967
Peterborough United 2 - 4 West Ham United
Seven years later the Hammers returned to London Road and turned the tables. With the World Cup trio in the starting line up West Ham ran out comfortable 4-2 winners. The goals coming from Geoff Hurst (28 mins), Martin Peters (35 mins) and John Sissons (47 & 78 mins). Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore were the sole survivors from the previous visit.
The local press’ coverage captured Geoff Hurst heading and one of his goals.
West Ham United:
Bobby Ferguson, Billy Bonds, John Charles, Eddie Bovington, John Cushley, Bobby Moore, Harry Redknapp, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Ron Boyce, John Sissons.
An unusual aspect of the 1967 friendly was that it was preceded by a game between the two club’s youth teams. Peterborough Colts ran out 2-1 winners.
Third Friendly Game : Saturday August 18, 1973 Peterborough United 1 - 2 West Ham United
By 1973 Ex-Hammer Noel Cantwell was managing Posh and he attracted the Hammers back for this third friendly. On this occasion just over 5,000 watched his Posh team face a strong line up led by Bobby Moore. Bobby appeared in all three of the first friendlies spread over 13 years. This time it was Peterborough who took a 2nd minute lead which they held until Pop Robson’s 60th minute equaliser. Seven minutes from time Trevor Brooking grabbed the winner. In the Posh team was former Hammer Dave Llewelyn who by now was playing in midfield.
West Ham United:
Bobby Ferguson, Frank Lampard, Clive Charles, Billy Bonds (Pat Holland 75), Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Clyde Best, Bertie Lutton, Ted MacDougall, Trevor Brooking, Pop Robson.
The Peterborough Standard’s photographer captured Ferguson, Charles, Bonds, Taylor, Moore and Brooking in action, plus Ex Hammer Llewelyn.
First League Match : Saturday September 12, 1992 Peterborough United 1 - 3 West Ham United
Nineteen years after the last friendly the two teams met in the Barclays Division One. The first competitive game was in season 1992-93 when the Hammers won automatic promotion from the Barclays Division One into the Premier League. While the Hammers finished a distant second on 88 points behind Newcastle’s 96pts, Peterborough finished a respectable 10th (62pts). A run of five wins in West Ham’s last six games helped ensure they avoided the play-offs albeit on goal difference from Portsmouth.
West Ham completed the double over Peterborough, winning 3-1 away and 2-1 at home. An observation on the attendances for these first league games between the two clubs is that the away match at London Road attracted 10,657 which was less than for the inaugural friendly 32 years earlier. Considering the team was challenging for promotion, the crowd for the Upton Park return was a disappointing 12,537.
West Ham’s scorers in the 3-1 away win were Morley, Martin and Keen.
West Ham’s team for the September 1992 game was:
Miklosko, Tim Breacker, Mitchell Thomas,
Steve Potts, Alvin Martin, Martin Allen,
Mark Robson, Peter Butler, Trevor Morley,
Clive Allen (Mike Small), Kevin Keen.
The team managed by Billy Bonds was reasonably
stable such that for the return league game, five
months later, the team had only three changes
from the first match. Julian Dicks, Tony Gale
and Steve Jones stepped in for Mitchell Thomas,
Alvin Martin and Clive Allen. Butler and Jones
grabbed the first half goals in the 2-1 win.
Programme for the
return game at
9th February 1993
npower Championship : Saturday September 24, 2011
West Ham United 1 - 0 Peterborough United
West Ham won this season’s September Championship match 1-0 courtesy of a Mark Noble penalty. Let’s hope the Hammers extend their table topping Championship form with another three points from London Road.
West Ham United: