Boston United 3-8 Polish Air Force XI


19th January 1946

When the Second World War ended, it took a while before football in England got back to normality. The Football League didn't start up again until the 1946/7 season, but the Midland League, in which Boston United played at the time, managed to commence at the start of September 1945, just days after Japan surrendered on August 14th 1945. Only 19 teams entered the competition, so this left some Saturdays free in Boston's Midland League schedule. A friendly match against a Polish Air Force XI filled one of these free dates. There were a few familiar faces in the Polish team. Cieplinski had actually been playing for Boston before being picked for the Polish side. Similarly, Pawlow had been turning out for Peterborough United. The Poles' centre-forward Wolanin had been working in Russia before the war and had turned out several times for the Dynamo side. The Polish side had been undergoing special training and would play in a series of representative matches around the country in the coming months.

Boston chose to try out a new keeper in this match. Pat Bland who had been their first choice keeper at the start of the season was on Watford's books and a replacement was now needed. Scarcliffe, a former Leake keeper had been serving in the Navy and was given his chance. Just before the match started Boston United's chairman Frank Pitcher visited the home players in the dressing room and told them that the Board had decided to give them a rise in wages, varying from 10 to 15 shillings (50p - 75p).

After the match started, it soon became apparent that the Polish side was a class above their Midland League opponents. Their skill, tenacity and speed made the Boston team look slow in comparison. The Poles went in front when WOLANIN beat Scarcliffe from short range. This reverse stung Boston into action and McKenlay was able to send SHARP away and he gave the keeper no chance with his equaliser on 13 minutes. Gardner and Capell both had chances to put Boston in front, but both managed to miss their kicks in the frosty conditions. The Poles now scored two quick goals. First PAWLOW broke through on his own to give his side the lead then the same player broke again, but this time set up CIEPLINSKI who took his chance well. Bill PATE then reduced the deficit from a free kick. As Boston tried hard to find an equaliser, WOLANIN hit them on the break to give the Poles a 4-2 half-time lead. Soon after the start of the second half a good move between Pawlow and CIEPLINSKI produced another goal for the airmen. Lane then cleverly set up SHARP who scored with a lovely header. After more missed Boston chances, Pawlow broke down the wing and sent in a deep cross to MAJERAN who gave the keeper no chance. Pawlow then saw a powerful shot hit the post. Lane then handled in the area, but Wolanin's penalty kick hit the crossbar, allowing Scarcliffe to fist the ball away. Cieplinski now made another opening for WOLANIN who scored their seventh goal. A few moments later the same two players combined again, allowing WOLANIN to complete the scoring and give the visitors a victory by eight goals to three.

Boston Utd: 1. Scarcliffe, 2. McDonagh, 3. Phil Bartley, 4. Bill Pate, 5. Watson, 6. Lane, 7. McKenlay, 8. Capell, 9. Harry Sharp, 10. Jimmy Gardner, 11. Pettitt.

Polish Air Force XI: 1. Srodzinski, 2. Pyka, 3. Boja, 4. Krol, 5. Lewandoski, 6. Srtonczyk, 7. Majeran, 8. Cieplinski, 9. Wolanin, 10. Bardzinski, 11. Pawlow.

Attendance: 2,300

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