The pre-season match in July 2003 against the Bakili Bullets from Malawi brought back memories in many of the older supporters of a previous Boston encounter with a side from Africa when back in 1956 Boston United took on a touring side from the Uganda FA XI.
The game was played under floodlights, something of a novelty at the time as they had only been installed in Boston a year earlier and had been used for the first time in a Midland League match against Corby Town. Some of the Ugandan team preferred to play barefooted, but the heavy Boston pitch precluded this option for all of the side apart from their left winger Kalibala. It was noted by many that unhindered by boots, Kalibala was the fastest man on the pitch of both teams. An unusual feature of the "pen pictures" of the Ugandans in the match programme was that it gave each player's tribe as well as their occupation.
The match was not as one-sided as the final score would suggest. The Ugandans were very quick, eager and tireless. They were as full of enthusiasm at the end of the game as they had been at the beginning. Their attacking moves were well schemed but their passes often fell short, being held up on the muddy surface. They showed a fine understanding of the game, but were not able to take advantage when they made an opening. Peagram their goalkeeper was outstanding and won generous applause for many fine saves. They were unlucky to be 5-1 down at half time and they played much better in the second half, especially in the final twenty minutes.
|Boston took the lead through Johnny BIRKBECK after just five minutes. Birkbeck usually played on the wing, but with the usual centre forward Ray Wilkins being absent, Birkbeck assumed his role. Reg HOWLETT increased the lead four minutes later and BIRKBECK added another on 26 minutes. The Ugandans scored their only goal on 34 minutes. It came from a penalty, which was partly saved by David Paul in the Boston goal, but TEMALIGWE followed up to make sure. However, in scoring the goal he was injured and Boston captain Dave Miller allowed the Ugandans to use a substitute to replace him. Three minutes from half-time BIRKBECK got his hat-trick and just before the whistle Geoff HAZLEDINE got Boston's fifth goal. The only goal of the second half was an own goal by SERUWAGIE.||
After their cup heroics the previous season, when they had thrashed Derby County 6-1 and put up a valiant fight against Spurs in the following round, for the first time in their history Boston had submitted an application to join the Football League. At the Annual General Meeting of the Football League, the four teams seeking re-election - Bradford Park Avenue, Crewe Alexandra, Crystal Palace and Swindon Town had all been voted back in. Peterborough United gained the most votes of the non-league clubs who applied with seven. Boston did however pick up one vote. Boston didn't quite repeat the performance this season. In the FA Cup after beating Grantham 6-3 they gained a home tie against Bradford Park Avenue, but went down 0-2 in front of 8794 spectators. They finished third in the Midland League behind Peterborough United and Rotherham United Reserves.
Boston Utd: 1. David Paul, 2. Tommy Deans, 3. Geoff Snade, 4. Rex Osman, 5. Dave Miller, 6. Tommy Lowder, 7. Reg Howlett, 8. Geoff Hazledine, 9. Johnny Birkbeck, 10. Jimmy Bloomer, 11. George Hair..
Uganda FA XI: 1. Peagram, 2.Semambo, 3. Kefa, 4. Okot, 5. Owiny, 6. Sebbowa, 7. Parma, 8. Seruwagie, 9. Owiti, 10. Temaligwe, 11. Kalibala.
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