Boston United 0 Gloucester City 1
BOSTON United’s FA Trophy dreams are over, after a patched-up Pilgrims suffered a dismal defeat at home to Blue Square Bet North rivals Gloucester City.
Darren Mullings knocked United off the FA Trophy trail, delivering the winning blow on 67 minutes after goalkeeper James McKeown — back for one game only — had skied an attempted clearance.
And the Tigers have now been handed a plum away tie at Blue Square Bet Premier outfit Luton Town.
The Pilgrims - who saw Anthony Church fill in at centre back as defensive regulare Kieran Murphya nd Shaun Pearson missed out through injury - could have no complaints following the defeat to their Blue Square Bet North rivals, despite having beaten the same opposition on away soil only one week earlier.
United had survived an early scare when on-loan full-back Rory Coleman clearly handled on the line to deny Darren Edwards, but referee Matthew McLaughlin was unmoved and the Pilgrims somehow got away without conceding a penalty — and losing Coleman to a red card.
Boston failed to make their most of their huge let-off as Gloucester bossed the opening half, albeit with a strong wind at their backs.
McKeown was required to deny Mike Symons, while a number of positive Gloucester forays lacked a killer touch tip the tie in their favour.
Boston were not without chances.
Spencer Weir-Daley miskicked when presented with a golden opportunity, while keeper Kevin Sawyer excelled to keep out a Mikel Suarez header towards half-time.
With both sides struggling to create after the break, Mullings applied the golden touch, firing underneath McKeown and between Lee Canoville and Coleman after collecting the keeper’s skewed kick.
United piled forward in search of a leveller, with Coleman striking the crossbar, Anthony Church heading wide and then Coleman being denied by Sawyer, before Danny Sleath crashed the rebound over.
Gloucester celebrated wildly at the final whistle and nobody could begrudge the Tigers their slender success.
For reaction from the Pilgrims camp, don’t miss the Boston Standard, out Wednesday.