The 6-1 win at Derby in 1955 is a record away win by a non-league team against League opponents in the FA Cup. It was Derby County's first home defeat of the season and their third heaviest defeat ever in the competition. Ray WILKINS scored the first Boston goal on 26 minutes, slotting in a Reg Harrison shot that passed across the face of the goal. Geoff HAZLEDINE got the second a few minutes later pouncing on a loose ball after the Derby goalkeeper failed to hold a shot from Reg Howlett. Derby then got a goal back when England international Jesse PYE scored from the penalty spot after a defender had handled the ball. Just before half time Boston went 3-1 up when Johnny BIRKBECK took advantage of a misunderstanding in the Derby defence. Derby were reduced to ten men in the second half when McDonnell went off with a knee injury. It was now one-way traffic. Geoff HAZLEDINE scored two more to complete his hat-trick. Both were from passes by Wilkins. WILKINS himself finished off the rout after beating the Derby goalkeeper to the ball and sidefooting it into the net. Wilkins almost got a hat-trick himself when a fierce shot hit the bar. It has been reported that the Boston team that day were on a nice win bonus of £35 (equivalent to about £500 today). The team included six ex-Derby players.
Derby team: 1. Terry Webster, 2. Geoff Barrowcliffe, 3. Frank Upton, 4. Albert Mays, 5. Martin McDonnell, 6. Reg Ryan, 7. Peter Cresswell, 8. Jack Parry, 9. Tom Todd, 10. Jesse Pye, 11. Tommy Powell.
United team: 1. Ray Middleton* (player-manager), 2. Ralph Robinson, 3. Geoff Snade, 4. Don Hazledine*, 5. Dave Miller*, 6. Tommy Lowder, 7. Reg Harrison*, 8. Geoff Hazledine*, 9. Ray Wilkins*, 10. Johnny Birkbeck, 11. Reg Howlett. (Key: *- ex-Derby)
Ray Middleton "When Boston came out of the hat after Derby in the second round we were delighted."
News Chronicle "Of all the tiny clubs fighting for Cup glory this weekend, none has a dimmer chance than Boston"
Reg Harrison "In my estimation, the game against Derby County was won the week before by our trainer Fred Tunstall, the old English international. Fred told us that their wing-halves pushed up but their two backs and the centre half didn't come forward. That left a gap for us to exploit. All we had to do was lob the ball into the space and go at them, five against three, and do our best. That's just what we did! The Derby man playing against me was Frank Upton, a solid man, but he couldn't understand what was going on. He wouldn't tackle, he kept backing off. I told our forward Geoff Hazledine not to get behind him but to stay square. Then I rolled the ball across to him. Geoff scored three goals!"
Geoff Hazledine "I played my best individual game that day. We knew we were going to win. Most of us were old Derby players, throw-outs if you like. We had a point to make. On the day we had more skill and talent than they had. We attacked them from the first minute, and I could see the looks of astonishment on their faces as we piled forward. With any luck we could have got ten that day!"
Ray Middleton "Actually I couldn't see much of the game from between the posts where I was standing. Most of the action was at the other end. We had a good little side; we liked to attack and the team knew each other because it picked itself. The stars were the lads from Derby. When I'd heard they were coming for free, I got in quickly to sign them. Having played with them all I knew they were good and it helped to make the team work as a unit."
John Motson MBE "My uncles would take me to watch Boston United when I was enjoying my childhood holidays in Lincolnshire. I remember we bought a copy of the Star, one of three London evening classified football papers in the fifties, and were amazed to see in the results section: Derby County 1, Boston Utd 6. 'There must be some mistake,' my dad said. Funnily enough, he supported Derby as a boy. 'They must mean one-nil surely.' At the age of ten, I had the gumption to turn to the back page of the paper where the half times were listed in tabulated form. And there was the irrefutable evidence: Derby 1, Boston 3."
Alan Ashton At the match I stood next to an "old" Derby fan. There was no segregation of supporters in those days. As Boston took complete control in the second half, this fan pointed at Reg Harrison (who was inspired that day and probably had his best ever game for United) and said: "I remember him just after the war - it took three players to mark him then - it still takes three b*****s now!". Boston fans were puzzled why some obviously young Derby supporters cheered behind the goal when Wilkins scored, but were dead silent when Geoff Hazledine popped one in. They turned out to be pupils at the school where Wilkins taught.
Photo courtesy of Geoff Snade
BACK ROW: Geoff Hazledine, Ray Wilkins, Don Hazledine, Ralph Robinson FRONT ROW: Derby County FC Representative, Reg Howlett, Geoff Snade, Reg Harrison, Tommy Lowder.
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