Boston United 3-2 Wrexham

Mather Cup

4th May 1956

The Boston United Benevolent Cup, or as it is more commonly known - The Mather Cup, is a trophy that is owned by Boston United. Mrs A. Louise Mather of the White Hart Hotel presented it to the club in 1947. It can be used as a trophy to be given to the winners of a challenge match between Boston United and any other club, the match to be played in Boston. The first Mather Cup game was on 30th April 1947 and the challengers were Sheffield United. Boston won the match 3-2 in extra time in front of a crowd of 4890. Up until the mid fifties the trophy was used to attract big name clubs to Boston for a competitive game - visitors included Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton. In recent years, use of the trophy has declined, the last challenge being by Derby County in 1998, when former Pilgrim Jim Smith brought his Derby County side over to Boston to be beaten 3-1 in one of Steve Evans' first matches as United manager. The attendance for that match was a disappointing 630.

In 1954 Boston United signed a new striker; Ray Wilkins, from Derby County, who at the time were playing in Division Two. He was a physical education school teacher. In order to arrive at matches in time for kick-off for early evening games, he sometimes had to travel to Boston by aeroplane from Derby where he taught. He scored a hat-trick on his debut for Boston and finished the 1954/5 season as joint top scorer with Geoff Hazledine, both having netted 29 goals. Wilkins would be top scorer in both the following seasons as well.

Ray Wilkins

The Boston United side was missing key midfielder Dusty Miller, who had been injured the previous day in a challenge match between the Midland League Champions Peterborough United and the runners-up Boston. It didn't take WILKINS long to get on the scoresheet. Just 33 seconds after the kick off he steered the ball round a Wrexham defender to put Boston in front. Eight minutes later Wrexham were back on level terms. A long shot by Gordon RICHARDS looked to be off target but the ball's trajectory changed after it bounced, deceiving Ray Middleton in the Boston goal and entering the net via the post. Wrexham then began to put pressure on Boston, but the home side retook the lead when Boston broke. Peter Williams ran down the wing, beat William Green, and put a square pass across the goalmouth to GEOFF HAZLEDINE who drove the ball into the net. Once again Wrexham were soon level. Three minutes after the Boston goal BERNARD EVANS nodded in a centre from David Jones. On 42 minutes Boston took the lead for the third time. Williams raced down the wing, cut in to the middle and just as it looked like he would shoot he passed to WILKINS who fired the ball past the Wrexham keeper. Wrexham dominated the second half as they searched for an equalising goal. Ray Middleton was on top form and made a series of superb saves to deny them. Right at the start of the half he made a notable save from Arthur Rowley. Then he did well to seize a deflection off Tommy Lowder's legs after a corner kick. He won applause when he beat out a close-range shot from Elfed Evans. A full-length dive was then required to gather a header from Rowley. Near the end, an unstoppable shot from Elfed Evans skimmed the cross-bar. That was to be Wrexham's last chance, so Boston held on to win the Mather Cup.

At the end of the following season Ray Wilkins joined Wrexham. He later played for Oswestry Town, Macclesfield Town, Gresley Rovers, Wilmorton and Alvaston.

Boston Utd: 1. Ray Middleton, 2. Ralph Robinson, 3. Geoff Snade, 4. Don Hazledine, 5. Johnny Birkbeck, 6. Tommy Lowder, 7. Reg Harrison, 8. Geoff Hazledine, 9. Ray Wilkins, 10. Jimmy Bloomer, 11. Peter Williams.

Wrexham: 1. R Williams, 2. William Green, 3. Aloysius McGowan, 4. Dennis Griffiths, 5. Albert Parker, 6. Fred Davis, 7. David Jones, 8. Elfed Evans, 9. Bernard Evans, 10. Arthur Rowley, 11. Gordon Richards.

Attendance: 4,025

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