Grimsby Town 0-2 Boston United

Lincs County Cup

16th October 1956

Boston United have come up against sides from Grimsby many times over the years, indeed Boston United's first ever game back in August 1933 was a 3-1 loss against Grimsby Town Reserves in the Lincolnshire League. Competitive matches against Grimsby Town's first team are however comparatively rare. The two sides have never met in the FA Cup, so the only other competition where they have come up against each other has been the Lincs County Cup. Up until 1956, Boston United played in the second tier version of the County Cup, against the other top non-league sides in the county such as Spalding United, Grantham and Gainsborough Trinity. But in 1956 the competition was reorganised, partly to take into account Scunthorpe United's election to the Football League in 1950, and Boston United joined Grimsby Town, Lincoln City and Scunthorpe United in the top tier in a knock out competition. In the semi-final they were drawn away at Grimsby so Boston's Midland Leaque side travelled north to face the might of Grimsby's full Second Division side for the first time.

For the first few minutes it looked like Grimsby would totally overwhelm Boston. They won a corner within seconds and keeper Ray Middleton did well to pluck the ball out of the air with a Grimsby striker almost on top of him. Soon after Bob Crosbie missed a golden opportunity to give the Mariners the lead when he faced an open goal, but Ralph Robinson nipped in at the last minute to rob him of the ball. Dave Miller then had to make a good tackle to deny George Higgins after a poor back pass had let him through. Robinson was soon saving Boston again when twice in quick succession he managed to get the ball from Jimmy Fell just as he was about to shoot. Amazingly Boston's playing style then clicked into place. The half backs started to help the attack and the forwards ran into open spaces ready to receive the passes aimed at them. From this moment onwards Boston were never mastered. Tommy Lowder went on one of his solo runs, but his final shot was off target. In the fifteenth minute Boston took the lead from the penalty spot. Jimmy Bloomer was forcing his way forward when Roy Player took the ball from him with his hand. BLOOMER took the kick himself, firing the ball into the net via the underside of the crossbar. Grimsby fought back and Johnny Scott had a good chance when he met a cross from Anthony Reeson, but his shot ended up nearer the corner flag than the goal. George Hair and Joe McLoughlin then combined well to release Johnny Birkbeck who sped downfield. His final drive was only inches too high. Bloomer then appeared to score again following a melee in the goalmouth. The referee awarded the goal, but then changed his mind after consulting the flagging linesman. On the half hour Birkbeck clashed heads with Player and both needed treatment for gashes. Just before half time Crosbie finally beat Middleton to a cross but his header whizzed an inch or two over the bar.

The second half began with both sides down to ten men as both Birkbeck and Player were receiving stitches to the cuts sustained in the first half. In the 48th minute Boston increased their lead. Tommy Deans slipped the ball to Hair, who passed it on to McLoughlin who lobbed it into the middle. Clarrie Williams leapt for the ball but BLOOMER beat him to it and netted with a fine header. Player returned to the field in the 51st minute and Birkbeck in the 54th. Fell dribbled the ball into a good shooting position but Don Hazledine made the crucial tackle at the last minute. Hazledine soon had to make another great intervention to prevent Crosbie from scoring. Miller then stuck out a foot to deflect a ball from the goal line behind for a corner. When the final whistle blew Boston were back on the attack.

Jimmy Bloomer

Boston went on to beat Scunthorpe's Third Division North side 3-1 in the final in May, their goals being scored by Derek Clark, an own goal by Alan Bushby and a clincher by teenager Brian Dunn.

Grimsby Town: Clarrie Williams, William Brown, Ray De Gruchy, George Higgins, Roy Player, Pat Johnston, Johnny Scott, William Evans, Bob Crosbie, Jimmy Fell, Anthony Reeson.

Boston United: Ray Middleton, Ralph Robinson, Tommy Deans, Don Hazledine, Dave Miller, Tommy Lowder, Reg Harrison, Jimmy Bloomer, Johnny Birkbeck, Joe McLoughlin, George Hair.

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