The world was in turmoil at the beginning of 1974. In October 1973, the Arab states had increased the price of oil by 70% and cut back on production in protest at US support for Israel in the Yom Kippur war. In the US, Richard Nixon was well on his way to being impeached following the Watergate scandal. At home, Prime Minister Edward Heath had been forced to introduce a three day working week to help conserve energy in response to both the oil crisis and industrial action by the coal miners which had reduced coal supplies to power stations by 40%. One of the products of this energy saving policy was that when Boston United earned a replay in the FA Cup against Derby County by drawing 0-0 at the Baseball Ground, the Wednesday replay would kick-off in the early afternoon so that the floodlights would not have to be used. Schools in Boston shut down for the afternoon, allowing young football fans a rare chance to glimpse stars from the First Division and boosting the gate to the ground capacity of 11,000.
Derby County were having the best spell in their history. Under Brian Clough's leadership, they had won their first League Championship in 1971/2 and gone on to reach the semi-finals of the European Cup the following season, beating Benfica 3-0 along the way. In October 1973 Derby fans had been shocked when the directors of the club forced Clough to resign over outspoken comments he had made on television. Nottingham Forest's manager Dave Mackay was appointed as his replacement.
The side that Mackay brought to York Street contained four internationals, one less than had turned out in the first match, as England centre-half Roy McFarland had picked up an injury and had been replaced by Peter Daniel. Their one other change had seen their £225,000 record breaking transfer signing David Nish return to the side to replace Welsh international Rod Thomas. The Boston side was unchanged. United started brightly, with player-coach Howard Wilkinson prominent in attacks down the left wing. But it was Derby who opened the scoring when Archie GEMMILL ran deep into Boston territory and finished by lobbing the ball over keeper Nigel Simpson from a tight angle. Kevin Hector now began to threaten, but close attention from Billy Howells nullified his efforts. On 25 minutes Simpson pulled off a superb save from Steve Powell. Four minutes later Derby won a disputed penalty for handball when the ball struck Dick Bate, who vehemently denied any intent to play the ball. The linesman had also seconds earlier signalled that a Derby player was in an offside position, but the referee still awarded the spot kick. GEMMILL stepped up to score his second goal. Seconds after the restart Boston had amazingly pulled a goal back. A cross from the right by Alan Tewley picked out Jim CONDE between Colin Todd and Ron Webster and he headed home past Colin Boulton.
Jim Conde scores.
Derby struck a killer blow five minutes before half-time. Jeff Bourne was fouled on the right of the penalty area and Alan Hinton sent in a pin-point cross from the resulting free kick, that found BOURNE, unmarked, to head Derby back into a two-goal lead. The second half had not been underway for very long before BOURNE added a fourth goal with a well placed shot that beat Simpson. Derby could now have gone further in front, but Gemmill missed a sitter when he hit the bar from six yards out when facing an open goal. Boston now had their best spell of the match. John Froggatt forced Peter Daniel to concede a corner and Boulton dropped Wilkinson's cross but the ball was scrambled away. Conde appealed for a penalty when his shot was charged down. Cliff Wright won two more corners and Dick Bate had a header cleared off the line by Todd. Two late goals gave Derby a winning scoreline that was somewhat flattering. GEMMILL was gifted his hat-trick following a misplaced clearance from John Lakin. Then a few minutes later David NISH joined the attack to complete the scoring.
United team: 1. Nigel Simpson, 2. John Lakin, 3. Phil Waller, 4. John Moyes, 5. Dick Bate, 6. Billy Howells, 7. Cliff Wright, 8. Alan Tewley, 9. John Froggatt, 10. Jim Conde, 11. Howard Wilkinson, Sub. Matt Tees. Manager: Keith Jobling.
Derby team: 1. Colin Boulton, 2. Ron Webster, 3. David Nish, 4. Henry Newton, 5. Peter Daniel, 6. Colin Todd, 7. Steve Powell, 8. Archie Gemmill, 9. Jeff Bourne, 10. Kevin Hector, 11. Alan Hinton, Sub. Jim Walker. Manager: Dave Mackay.
Dave Mackay "We paralysed them."
Dick Bate "The ball hit me - I did not play the ball. It was not intentional hands."
Jim Conde "Their defender palmed the ball away with both hands." About a penalty claim that was turned down when Derby were leading 4-1.
George Wheatman in the Lincolnshire Standard "But the dejection in United's dressing room after the match was out of proportion to their performance. After taking a talented, international filled Rams' side to 180 minutes' football, they could hold their heads high, especially as they went out sticking to the skilful brand of football that has become United's password."
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