Boston United's first League scalp in the FA Cup was a spectacular record breaking 6-1 defeat of Derby County in 1955. Fifteen years later, under the management of Jim Smith, they doubled their tally with a comfortable victory over the then Fourth Division side Southport.
United's FA Cup run had begun in September with a 4-0 victory over Holbeach United in the First Qualifying Round. Victories over Lincoln United, Boston FC and Frickley Colliery brought the Pilgrims through to the First Round Proper. When they were drawn against Southport, player-manager Jim Smith relished the prospect of playing against three of his former team mates from his time with Halifax Town - Malcolm Russell, Eric Harrison and Anthony Field were all now turning out for the Lancashire seaside town. The week before the game, Boston were without a match, so Jim Smith and director Ernest Malkinson took the opportunity to go and see Southport play in their Fourth Division match at home to Notts County. Southport on the other hand made no effort to see Boston in action and were clearly surprised by the quality of play when the two sides met. 700 Boston fans made the long trip over to Southport and they really got behind their team - making far more noise than their opposing fans in the 3803 crowd. One thing that must have been confusing was that Boston were playing in red and white stripes as Southport wore Boston's usual colours.
Southport tended to build up attacks slowly through the middle, whereas Boston moved swiftly from defence to attack down the flanks. Southport started quite strongly. Calloway wasted a free-kick on the edge of the box, then Marsh fired a shot over the bar. A few minutes later Aindow curled a shot from the left into the side netting. Boston then attacked and Bob Mackay - a summer signing from Burton Albion - crashed a header from John Flannagan's free-kick against the post. On 15 minutes John Froggatt almost gave Boston the lead, but the muddy conditions sapped the power from his shot allowing Aindow time to clear. Boston took the lead on 36 minutes. A cross from Flannagan was nodded down by Froggatt to Brian BATES, who turned his marker before slotting past the Southport 'keeper. Southport attacked after the interval, but caused Boston no problems. Their best effort was a shot by Field through a crowded area that skimmed the post. Boston doubled their lead 17 minutes into the half. A free kick was floated into the area by Flannagan. It was just too high for Bates, but MACKAY was able to meet it to power his effort into the net. With their fans chanting "Easy, Easy", Boston held on to their lead and progressed into the second round. After the match Flannagan and Mackay told the waiting press that they had worked out the move for Mackay's goal during a tea break at their workplace in a hosiery factory in Leicester the previous week.
Boston faced another Fourth Division side - York City - in the second round. They went down 2-1 at York Street after taking the lead through Brian Bates only to be hit by two late goals - the last from the penalty spot after Billy Howells had been sent off for needlessly fouling Brian Swallow.
Southport finished the season in 8th place in the Fourth Division. After winning the title in 1973 and spending a season in the Third Division they finished the 70s languishing one off the bottom of Division Four for three seasons in a row before being voted out in 1978 to be replaced in the League by Wigan Athletic, who had finished as runners up in the Northern Premier League behind Boston United.
Southport: John Armstrong, David Turner, Ambrose Clarke, Malcolm Russell, Eric Harrison, Laurie Calloway, Arthur Peat, Kevin Marsh, Chris Dunleavy, Roger Aindow, Anthony Field. Sub: Tom Cheetham.
Boston United: Malcolm White, Billy Howells, John Lakin, Jim Smith, Alex Gibson, Keith Jobling, Eric Weaver, Brian Bates, John Froggatt, Bob Mackay, John Flannagan. Sub: Fred Creaser.
The team celebrating after the match
The Sunday Mirror "There was a Boston tea party at Southport. But the Northern Premier League side were not very charitable guests as they humbled their Fourth Division hosts with a fine display. It was a well deserved win which sent their fans wild with delight. Boston were always the more enterprising and played the better football."
Jim Smith "The lads played very well and it worked out just as I thought it might. There was no doubt that we were the better side. We are in the forefront of non-League clubs. We have the finances, the ground and the players to serve us well in the Fourth Division. This cup victory has planted a new seed of determination within the club."
Brian Bates "John Flannagan hit over a good centre, and John Froggatt headed down a great ball. I just turned and hit it in."
John Lakin "It was great, wasn't it."
Ernest Malkinson "The supporters were tremendous. They helped us a great deal, and the "Standard" did a fine job in bringing a train load."
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