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Ellender joins the attack

Pilgrims 0-1 Brigg Town

FA Cup

Although this was Boston United's first (and last) FA Cup game of the season, their opponents Brigg Town had already played eight matches in the tournament since their extra preliminary round tie against Great Harwood back in August. Like a cat with nine lives, Brigg have overcome the odds in each of their ties and this match was no exception. Mickey Brown returned to the Boston side after injury and Gez Murphy made the starting line-up, coming in for the suspended Phil Gray. Brown and Clifford were soon making breakthroughs down the right wing, but Brown was consistently hitting his crosses too high and Clifford hitting his too low. The match soon settled into a pattern. Wave after wave of Boston attacks pounded the Brigg goal. Only desperate defending kept the scoresheet level. Boston twice came so close to opening their account that many in the crowd thought they had done so. And when Murphy broke clear and tumbled to the ground following a challenge well inside the area, many were incredulous that no penalty was awarded. Just before half-time Boston gifted Brigg the deciding goal. In a rare Brigg attack, Simon Drayton passed the ball out to the right wing. A cross came in to the penalty area, but looked to be heading safely towards Boston defender Mark Monington, but he mistimed his kick and the ball floated into the path of Simon ROACH, who had no problems in burying the ball in the back of an open net from six yards out.

In the second half little changed. Boston began by winning a series of corners, but couldn't find the killer touch to open their account. Brigg then almost increased their lead when they hit Boston on the break, but Paul Bastock was able to deflect Roach's shot for a corner. More Boston pressure and more Boston corners followed but no Boston goals. Mark Angel then came on for Jamie Cook to provide a fresh pair of legs for the Boston front line. Boston now made their task even harder when Ross Weatherstone was dismissed for pushing Roach to the ground as he broke through the last line of the Boston defence. Being down to ten men made little difference to the play, it was still Boston that were creating virtually all the goalscoring chances. Daryl Clare and Simon Weatherstone both produced efforts that were just inches away from saving the game for Boston. But Brigg held on to the end to win for the first time in the fourth qualifying round. So it is Brigg Town who go on to play in the first round proper where they are rewarded with a trip to Nationwide League side Tranmere Rovers, a team who know a thing or two about FA Cup giant killing themselves.

United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould, 4. R Weatherstone, 5. Monington (Rusk 85), 6. Ellender, 7. Brown (Town 85), 8. Murphy, 9. Clare, 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Cook (Angel 60). Subs not used: Lodge, Conroy.

Match report and photo by Ken Fox.