Immediately after the Second World War watching football became an extremely popular pastime. This meant that when Boston United reached the final of the Lincolnshire Senior Cup against Grantham in 1946 they attracted a record crowd of over 8500, breaking their previous figure by over 2500. And this didn't include spectators watching the game from nearby trees and roofs!
Boston suffered a pre-match blow when it became known that first choice keeper Jock Bayne wasn't fit and that Hammond, who played for the reserve side would take his place. Boston then lost the toss and Grantham made them start the match playing into a strong wind and facing a blinding sun.
|The game opened in dramatic fashion when in their first attack Boston bundled the ball into the net, only for the goal to be ruled out following appeals for offside. Boston continued to press, but against the run of play Grantham took the lead. Searby crossed to Stancer who quicky passed to BRADLEY who scored with a shot that gave Hammond no chance. Grantham then came close to doubling their score when a shot from Macartney grazed the crossbar. End to end play now resulted with good chances for both sides. It was Boston who eventually scored next though, just before the half-time interval. Tommy Mitcham broke down the wing, crossed to Harry SHARP who flashed the ball into the net. Four minutes into the second half Boston went in front. With the Grantham defenders concentrating on marking Sharp, this left Roy HOUGHTON free to bang in an unstoppable shot. A few minutes later Boston went further ahead with a glorious goal. Boston won a free kick when Jimmy Gardner was fouled. The ball was cleared but fell to Tommy MITCHAM who weaved his way through the entire Grantham defence before finishing with a powerful drive. This was the last goal of the match although Boston came close to scoring on a number of occasions - a shot from Bill Pate that hit the underside of the bar before bouncing out being the closest. Boston also had a penalty appeal turned down when a Grantham defender appeared to pull the ball down with his hand in the area.
The silver cup was presented to Boston captain Bill Pate by Mr Drewery of Grimsby - a prominent figure in English football at the time. Mr Drewery said that it was a great delight to him to see such a wonderful crowd to witness the cup final. He had seen many such games, but he did not think he had seen more honest endeavour and sportmanlike play than he had seen that afternoon. The Mayor of Boston; W E Anderson, also made a speech. He said that it had given him particular pleasure to see the game. He had been ill for five or six weeks, but the match had been a real tonic, and was much better than all the doctors. He continued that during the war it had been very difficult to carry on with their sports, but that they were looking forward to big things during the post-war period and he hoped that sport would be developed more than it had ever been before. It was the desire of the Corporation to do all they could to encourage open-air recreation.
United team: 1. Hammond, 2. George Darwen, 3. Phil Bartley, 4. Bill Pate, 5. Humphris, 6. Jim Harris, 7. Roy Houghton, 8. Jimmy Gardner, 9. Harry Sharp, 10. Martin, 11. Tommy Mitcham.
Gratham team: 1. Brannan, 2. Gregory, 3. Cuthbert, 4. Ashton, 5. Taylor, 6. Sams, 7. Pickering, 8. Searby, 9. Macartney, 10. Bradley, 11. Stancer.
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