Boston United 12-0 Wisbech Reserves

United Counties League

2nd April 1966

Despite what some football annuals might say, Boston United's biggest ever win isn't the 11-0 Grace Swan Memorial Cup match against Spilsby Town back in July 1992, it is in fact their 12-0 triumph over Wisbech Reserves in a United Counties League game in 1966.

At the end of the 1963/4 season Boston United faced dwindling gates, a major dispute with Sportsfund Ltd - a fundraising organisation set up by supporters - and a falling out between club chairman Ernest Malkinson and team manager Paul Todd over the dictatorial way the club was being run. In the face of all these problems Mr Malkinson decided to wind up the club. He eventually however had a last minute change of mind, by which time the only option left to keep the club going was to enter a team of local amateurs in the Boston & District League. In January 1965 Mr Malkinson announced that he would be re-launching a professional side. In May he revealed that he had signed up former Everton, Grimsby Town and Eire international centre-half Don Donovan to be player manager for the new club and that they had applied to join the United Counties League. Donovan was told to go out and put together a team of young players, preferably with Football League 2nd Division experience. Two of his first signings fitted the bill nicely. Both came from Donovan's old club Grimsby and both would make huge contributions to Boston's amazing achievements in the following seasons. They were nineteen year old full back John Lakin and twenty-two year old wing half Billy Howells.

Not surprisingly Boston United's new professional side did very well in the lowly United Counties League. By the time they came up against Wisbech Reserves at the start of April, Boston had won their last twelve matches. Their last two games had been a 5-0 win against Northampton Town 'A' and a 7-2 win against Wolverton. They had only lost three games all season - a surprise defeat at the hands of Skegness Town in the FA Cup and losses at Peterborough United 'A' and Kettering Reserves in the UCL.

Boston opened the scoring after just fifteen seconds when Jimmy RAYNER found the target after running onto a through ball by Bobby Baker. Marshalled by player-manager Don Donovan, Boston made systematic thrusts against a side that appeared to be completely lacking in tactics of any sort. BAKER got Boston's second goal on 10 minutes. The third goal came from BAKER after he latched on to a loose ball in the 21st minute. A minute later Boston were four up when Wisbech keeper Weathall missed a cross from the right by Rayner giving Jimmy FELL the simple task of tapping the ball into the net. Five minutes before half-time RAYNER got his second goal when his centre curled past Weathall and crept into the net at the back post. FELL got his second goal a minute before the interval to give Boston a 6-0 lead at half-time. Six more goals followed with almost monotonous regularity in the second half. They went in as follows: (FELL 56 minutes), Howard SWAIN (penalty 59, 76), BAKER (70), RAYNER(73) and Billy HOWELLS (81). Thus Rayner, Baker and Fell all got hat-tricks.

Ken Oxford

Ken Oxford


Boston finished the season as UCL champions, four points ahead of Bourne and nine points clear of Rushden Town. They were unbeaten at home all season. The following season they switched to the West Midlands League and had two equally successful season's there before becoming founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968.

United team: Ken Oxford, John Lakin, Paddy Roche, Brian Jackson, Don Donovan, Billy Howells, David Robinson, Jimmy Rayner, Bobby Baker, Howard Swain, Jimmy Fell.

Wisbech Reserves team: Weathall, Reed, Rutcliffe, Bowers, Howells, Lee, Taylor, Moore, Wade, Brown, Withers.

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