LOOKING BACK WITH PETERBOROUGH UNITED: The greatest night in the club’s history

How the Evening Telegraph reacted to a famous Posh night.

How the Evening Telegraph reacted to a famous Posh night.

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It is generally regarded as the greatest night in Peterborough United’s Football League history.

Posh met Gillingham at London Road on Wednesday, May 1, 1974, with the Division Four title at stake. The winners would win the league and over 17,000 packed into the city stadium to watch Posh come from behind and beat the Gills 4-2.

The successful Posh squad of 1973-74 celebrate winning Division Four.  From the left are, back, Keith Bradley, Paul Walker, Eric Steele, John Cozens, Jeff Lee, Mick Jones, Jim Hall, Jack Carmichael,  front, Bert Murray, John Barnwell, Tommy Robson, Dave Gregory and Freddie Hill.

The successful Posh squad of 1973-74 celebrate winning Division Four. From the left are, back, Keith Bradley, Paul Walker, Eric Steele, John Cozens, Jeff Lee, Mick Jones, Jim Hall, Jack Carmichael, front, Bert Murray, John Barnwell, Tommy Robson, Dave Gregory and Freddie Hill.

Posh host Gillingham in a League One fixture on Boxing Day.

Forty-two years ago it was the first title won by Posh since their first season as a Football League club in 1960 when they also won the Fourth Division Championship.

It was also the end of six years of pain following the club’s controversial demotion from Division Three at the end of the 1968-69 campaign.

Noel Cantwell was the Posh manager - ‘The Messiah’ took charge when Posh were bottom of the entire Football League 18 months earlier - Chris Turner was the formidale presence at the back, but captain and top scorer that season was John Cozens, who still lives in the city.

Cozens scored twice on that glorious night against Gillingham to add to a Chris Turner header and a Jeff Lee penalty.

Posh had fallen behind to a controversial penalty before completing what remains the only unbeaten home record in the club’s Football League history.

Cozens said at the time: “What a night. We were determined to win the title we believed we deserved and we did it in style.

“We fell behind early, but we have a lot of character as well as a lot of ability in this team and we tore them apart.

“The atmosphere was brilliant. The fans have been behind us all season, but tonight they were really good.

“It was a great game and a great night to finish a great season. ”

Typically Turner wouldn’t go into detail about his performance. He passed the credit on to Cantwell who had transformed Posh’s fortunes in just 18 months.

Turner said: “Noel gave us fantastic self-belief. We were really struggling when he turned up at the club, but he believed in us and backed us.

“Noel deserves all the praise for what we have achieved and we couldn’t have clinched the title in a more dramatic way. It’s been a great night and to be honest it’s only just started!”

Posh finished three points clear at the top having won 19 of their 23 home matches. Gillingham finished second.