FA Cup games have always been important to Boston United, especially as in this case when they give the team the opportunity of claiming the scalp of a League club. Boston's passage to this second round tie had been fairly easy. A good run in the cup the previous season had meant that the club started their FA Cup campaign this season in the 4th Qualifying Round. Easy 3-0 victories over both Winterton Rangers and Ellesmere Port had brought them to the current match. Hartlepool were struggling near the bottom of the Fourth Division, so they would not have been very happy with the thought of a tough away game against a top non-league side.
Boston had not been playing well in recent games. They had been knocked out of the FA Trophy by Worksop in a replay at York Street three days prior to this match. Player Manager Jim Smith had pulled a big surprise in his starting line up. He recalled 38 year old, former Grimsby midfielder, Keith Jobling to the side from the trainer's bench.
The game started well for Boston. They had an early penalty claim turned down when new signing from Lincoln City; Bobby Svarc, was brought down in the area. A run by top scorer John Froggatt then left Hartlepool's Parry trailing. Froggatt then swerved round Ashurst and fired in a shot but it was well saved by Gadsby in the Hartlepool goal. The closest Hartlepool came to scoring in the first half was when Bobby Veart saw his header go over the Boston bar. So at half time the score was still 0-0.
Just five minutes had passed in the second half when Boston took the lead. A Boston break through the middle had resulted in Svarc being fouled by Ashurst. Jim SMITH took the kick and planted a ground hugging shot into the corner of the net. Fifteen minutes from the end Hartlepool made a substitution, bringing on Sharkey for Welsh. It almost paid dividends as Malcom White had to make a good save from a volley by the substitute. A few minutes later Boston went further ahead. A quick break down the right forced a corner. Gordon Hughes took the kick and a dummy by Jobling confused the Hartlepool defence allowing the ball to get through to FROGGATT who fired it into the net from twelve yards out. Hartlepool quickly pulled a goal back when Bobby VEART scored but it was too late to change the result and Boston progressed through to the third round.
Violence on the terraces was prevalent at many League matches in the seventies and this match brought this disturbing feature to Boston. There were skirmishes between the two sets of fans before, during and after the game. Two Hartlepool fans were later fined for threatening and abusive behaviour.
When the third round draw was made it gave Boston a home draw against Second Division Portsmouth. Boston put on a good display but were beaten by the narrowest of margins in front of over 8,000 supporters at their York Street ground. Hartlepool went on to finish in 18th place in the Fourth Division and Portsmouth were knocked out of the FA Cup in the Fifth Round by Birmingham City.
United team: 1. Malcolm White, 2. John Lakin, 3. Dick Bate, 4. Keith Jobling, 5. Billy Howells, 6. Jim Smith, 7. Howard Wilkinson, 8. Robbie Coats, 9. Gordon Hughes, 10. Bobby Svarc, 11. John Froggatt, Sub. Brian Bates.
Hartlepool team: 1. Mick Gadsby, 2. George Potter, 3. Alan Goad, 4. Len Ashurst, 5. Anthony Parry, 6. Mike Spelman, 7. Eric Welsh, 8. Robert Smith, 9. Robert Veart, 10. Ron Young, 11. Neil Warnock, Sub. Dominic Sharkey.
Keith Jobling "I did not know I was playing until I arrived here. It was a big surprise to me."
Jim Smith "It may have been bad covering but they did not leave a lot of space to aim at. I hit the ball true and it sailed in just where I wanted it to."
John Froggatt "I shouted to Keith to let the corner come to me and he did. This wrong footed the defence and I hit it just right. The goalkeeper would have had to be ****** good to have stopped that shot."
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