THE BIG KICK-OFF: The day Charlie sank the Cobblers
There is no question the first matches most Peterborough United fans looked up when the League One fixture list was revealed involved Northampton Town.
The teams haven’t met in a competitive fixture since March 2009 when a single Charlie Lee goal at London Road delivered three points for a Posh team heading for promotion from League One.
Cobblers were relegated that season and have lived in their neighbours’ shadow ever since.
For Lee the goal was a major highlight of his 177-game Posh career which was spread over four seasons.
“I went out in Peterborough with some of the other players that night and I soon realised that I’d made thousands of people very happy!” Lee recalled.
“I knew it was a big thing for our fans to beat Northampton, but I hadn’t realised just how big.
“That goal will stay with me forever. That goal and the one at Colchester to clinch promotion later that season were the highlights of a very enjoyable time at the club.
“I started the game against Northampton in central midfield, but Gaby Zakuani was sent off after a couple of minutes so I had to drop into the centre of the defence.
“They hit the bar from a free-kick straight after the red card, but we dug in and when we won a free-kick, Paul Coutts sent over the perfect cross and I just tried to win the header.
“Luckily for me it flew into the net. Unluckily for me I attempted the worst celebration ever with a somersault that went horribly wrong! But no-one seemed to notice and if they did they didn’t say anything.
“We came under pressure towards the end of that match, but we got home, in no small part thanks to the crowd. That was the best atmosphere I ever experienced at the club.”
Lee scored 16 goals for Posh, most of them in his first season after signing as a midfielder from Spurs in the summer of 2007.
He also played as a full-back and a centre-back before he left Posh for Gillingham in the summer of 2011, weeks after the club’s thrilling League One play-off success.
Lee is now at Stevenage and signed a new contract to stay at the League Two club this summer.
He’s expecting success for Posh and his current club this season.
Lee believes the appointment of his former team-mate Grant McCann as Posh manager will prove to be a Darragh MacAnthony masterstroke.
“It was obvious from his time as a player at Posh that Grant McCann would become a manager one day,” Lee added.
“He was always interested in coaching sessions and tactics and he was always very knowledgeable about the game.
“Players like him and they will respect him which is half the battle these days.
“I’d be amazed if he wasn’t successful and I really hope he takes Posh back up.
“Stevenage should also have a better season and I hope I can contribute a bit more.
“I had a stop-start season last time. I’d play three or four games and then miss three or four with an injury.
“I feel really fit and strong now though.”
MARCH 14, 2009
Posh 1, Northampton 0
Goal: Posh – Lee (33 mins).
Posh: Lewis, Whelpdale, Martin, Williams, Zakuani, Lee, Keates, Boyd, Coutts, Mclean, Mackail- Smith. Subs used: Westwood, Batt.
Other notable Posh v Cobblers derbies
September, 2008, League One:
Gaby Zakuani’s Posh debut.
George Boyd fired Posh in front, Colin Larkin equalised.
August 1999, Division Three:
A brilliant 25-yard strike from Simon Davies midway through the second-half won the day.
October 1985, Division Four:
A club record home defeat in the Football League after Posh goalkeeper John Turner was sent off in the opening stages and full-back Jimmy Holmes went in goal.
April, 1984, Division Four:
Two goals apiece from Alan Waddle and Errington Kelly and strikes from Jimmy Holmes (penalty) and Paddy Rayment delivered the biggest ever Posh win over Cobblers. A crowd of just 3,481 witnessed the massacre.
October 1960, Division Four:
The first ever Football League meeting between the clubs attracted a bumper gate of 22,959 to London Road. That remains the second highest Football League gate in Posh history. Peter McNamee (2) and Dennis Emery scored for Posh who were 3-0 down at half-time!