Boston United 2-1 Fulham

London Midweek League

30th March 1939

Before they came to Boston in the Carling Cup in 2004, Fulham had visited on one previous occasion, back in 1939 when the two sides met in the London Midweek League. Despite the name, the London Midweek League was not the exclusive preserve of teams from London. That season it consisted of nine teams, six of which were from London or nearby, along with Boston United, Northampton Town and Peterborough United. It was the one and only time that Boston played in the competition. They had joined it to provide some extra games to boost the club's revenue. Boston played their midweek games at that time on a Thursday. The thought of playing against the reserve sides of some of the big clubs from London seemed to be an attractive prospect. Indeed a crowd of about 1300 turned out at Shodfriars Lane for their first match against Brentford, but they were disappointed that only one star player was in the opposition side. So it wasn't too surprising when they won 5-1 with Wilf Notley getting a hat-trick. The gates soon began to dwindle and it wasn't long before they were down to the low hundreds. Boston weren't performing very well in the Midland League either. A 0-12 defeat at Peterborough equalled their record loss. In the FA Cup their progress had been halted by fellow Midland League side Scunthorpe United who had won 2-1 in the fourth qualifying round. Scunthorpe would go on to win the Midland League title.
When Boston had to send a team down to Fulham for a Thursday fixture at the beginning of March they decided that they would choose a reserve side. This would allow them to rest their best players for the upcoming Lincs Senior Cup match against Gainsborough Trinity on the Saturday. So for the trip down to London a side consisting mainly of local amateurs turned out for Boston and not surprisingly they were soundly thrashed 10-2, with Horton and Cooper scoring the Boston goals. Home games however were a different matter, so when Fulham arrived in Boston for the return match they faced a much stronger Boston line-up. An unusual feature of the Boston side was that it contained a traillist, who the club refused to name, as in past games this had alerted other club's to the player's availability. So the new player just went down as "Newman" on the teamsheet. Despite being a goal down at halftime, scored by Fisher, Boston fought back and turned the game around to win 2-1. Player-manager Fred TUNSTALL and former Accrington Stanley left back Irvine RHODES got the Boston goals.

Sid Ellis

Sid Ellis

For their last two matches in the midweek league, at Crystal Palace and Brentford, Boston once again turned out teams of local amateurs. And once again they suffered resounding defeats, going down 0-8 and 0-7 respectively. They ended the tournament in seventh place, ahead of Crystal Palace and Northampton. Chelsea, who Boston had beaten 4-1 in their away fixture, pipped their First Division rivals Brentford for the league title on goal average. Second Division Fulham finished in fourth place.

The expected crowds failed to materialise for the London Midweek League games, so Boston resigned from the competition at the end of the season. The club accounts revealed a loss of 1,138 on the year and Chairman Ernest Malkinson resigned his post in the summer and there was talk of possible closure. The club however kept going the following season, but the Second World War intervened curtailing footballing activities. Ernest Malkinson eventually returned to the club in 1949 after ten years away.

United team: 1. W Cockcroft, 2. Jepson, 3. Sid Ellis, 4. G Wilson, 5. Ernie Wright, 6. Irvine Rhodes, 7. George Bugg, 8. "Newman", 9. Horton, 10. Bob Gregg, 11. Fred Tunstall.

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