After being in the Midland League since their formation in 1933, in 1958 Boston United made the decision to switch to the Southern League. The club was hoping that the move would improve their chances of being elected to the Football League. At that time many players in the Southern League were on better wages than those in the Football League where there was a £20-a-week maximum wage. The Southern League had no such constraints, thus Ron Atkinson, a journeyman centre-half and later to be manager of Manchester United among others, was earning more at Headington United than England international Tom Finney at Preston North End. Headington had their own Football League ambitions. The previous season they had appointed former Birmingham City manager Arthur Turner as manager. He had soon spent £5000 in building an impressive side. The emphasis was on youth and the average age of the side had been reduced from 32 to 24. The new signings included: 19 year old Maurice Kyle from Wolves; right back Cyril Beavon also from Wolves and costing £2000; ex Sheffield United centre-forward Geoff Denial; inside left Joe Dickson who cost a substantial fee from Liverpool; Scottish international David Mathers from Partick Thistle; and 20 year old Ron Atkinson from Aston Villa.
|Boston manager Ray King made a tactical switch when high flying Headington United visited Boston for their Southern League clash in December 1959. He swapped the positions of Tommy Garvie and Johnny Mooney, so Mooney now played on the wing and Garvie in the centre. It was thought that Garvie was a more natural inside forward and also such a move would confuse the opposition. The Boston defence took some time to settle down and was under early pressure. The first Boston chance came from a corner. After bobbling around in the area, the ball fell nicely to Johnny Garvie, but he slipped at the crucial moment and finally Darroch fired the ball over the bar. Headington took the lead in the 18th minute. Mathers sent a long ball forward towards DICKSON, who appeared to be in an offside position. His half-hearted shot trickled past Boston goalkeeper Les Williams and the referee surprised everyone by signalling a goal. It wasn't long before Headington keeper Feehan had to pull off a fine save from a Johnny Garvie header. Then in the 25th minute Boston equalised. Darroch beat McDonald and picked out Johnny Mooney who passed to Johnny BIRKBECK who scored. Three minutes later Boston went in front. After a prolonged goalmouth scramble that had seen Beavon make a goal-line clearance, the ball fell to Don HAZLEDINE who slotted home. Boston now had their best period of the match and seconds before half-time Feehan brought off a brilliant one handed save from Birkbeck. The second half was less exciting. Headington had a good chance when Denial and Love broke forward, but Hazledine made a smart interception. Right at the end Feehan did well to hold a great shot from Mooney.||
Boston finished the season in 9th place, Headington were runners up to Bath City. Peterborough United, who had stuck with the Midland League won the title and were elected to the Football League at the expense of Gateshead. In the following season Headington changed their name to Oxford United and went on to win the Southern League in consecutive seasons before being elected to the Fourth Division following the resignation of Accrington Stanley.
Boston team: 1. Les Williams, 2. Don Dykes, 3. Geoff Snade, 4. Morris Galley, 5. Frank Sims, 6. Don Hazledine, 7. Darroch, 8. Johnny Garvie, 9. Johnny Mooney, 10. Johnny Birkbeck, 11. Tommy Garvie.
Headington team: 1. Ignatius Feehan, 2. Cyril Beavon, 3. Gordon McDonald, 4. Ron Atkinson, 5. Maurice Kyle, 6. David Mathers, 7. Jimmy Thomson, 8. Tony Jones, 9. Geoff Denial, 10. Joe Dickson, 11. Johnny Love.
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