With two former Sheffield United players in the Boston side and having already knocked out one League club in the previous round, this was virtually guaranteed to be a memorable game. Both Phil Jones and Paul Casey had helped the Blades to the Fourth Division Championship the previous season, but had been signed up by Boston after being released at the end of the season. Extra spice was added to the fixture by the fact that the Sheffield United manager was Ian Porterfield, who had masterminded a 4-0 FA Cup win against Boston two seasons earlier when boss of Rotherham United. Sheffield United had been spending a lot of money to strengthen their side. They had recently signed striker Alan Young for £160,000 and top scorer Keith Edwards had cost them £100,000.
The match was covered on television and Boston's twenty year old striker Chris Cook had been featured, as he also worked as the groundsman at York Street.
Boston had reached the second round via two home ties. An easy 4-1 win against Shifnal Town had taken them through the 4th qualifying round and they had then pulled off a shock 3-1 win against Fourth Division strugglers Crewe Alexandra in the first round proper.
It was former Blade Paul Casey who set up the Boston's ninth minute goal. In a break down the right he got past Tony Kenworthy and his centre took a deflection to loop high over £90,000 goalkeeper Keith Waugh, for Jim Lumby to touch home. Dave Gilbert twice had to head off his own line fierce headers from Mike Trusson and Stewart Houston. Kenny Tiler was doing a great job marking Keith Edwards and Phil Jones was winning most of his tussles with Alan Young. Sheffield finally got an equaliser through sheer force of numbers. In a mighty goalmouth scramble Keith Edwards emerged from a posse of Sheffield forwards to turn in Colin Morris's cross past Kevin Blackwell in the Boston goal. Boston had their chances to win the game. Jim Lumby saw a far post header go into the side netting from a Dave Gilbert cross on 64 minutes and Chris Cook had a goal disallowed five minutes from the end after colliding with the keeper.
Boston were soundly beaten 5-1 in the replay at Bramall Lane, being taken apart by an Alan Young hat-trick in a ten minute spell just after Dave Gilbert had unexpectedly put Boston in front after 35 minutes. Sheffield United were knocked out of the FA Cup in the very next round by Stoke City. Boston went on to finish in 5th place in the Alliance Premier Football League and to reach the quarter finals of the FA Trophy where they were beaten 2-1 at Dagenham.
Big games seem to bring out the thugs at Boston and this game was no exception. Fifteen "fans" were charged with a variety of offences, some as young as fifteen, and five of them ended up with fines totalling £1,000.
Fifteen years after this match, Sheffield's Steve Charles played at York Street with Chris Cook again when he signed up for the Pilgrims during the 1997/8 season.
Boston United team: 1. Kevin Blackwell, 2. Mick Lyon, 3. Arthur Mann, 4. Kenny Tiler, 5. Phil Jones, 6. Russ Allen, 7. Paul Casey, 8. Chris Cook, 9. Jim Lumby, 10. Gary Mallender, 11. Dave Gilbert, Sub. Mark Cox.
Sheffield United team: 1. Keith Waugh, 2. Mickey Henderson, 3. Tony Kenworthy, 4. Ray McHale, 5. John MacPhail, 6. Stewart Houston, 7. Colin Morris, 8. Mike Trusson, 9. Keith Edwards, 10. Alan Young, 11. Steve Charles, Sub. Gary Brazil.
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