LEE Canoville blasted his goal-shy Pilgrims after Boston United crashed out of the FA Cup at Kidsgrove Athletic last night.
Powerful strikes from Sam Hall and Craig Dove meant the Grove – who sit two divisions below United – claimed an amber and black scalp in this second qualifying round replay.
While the Kidsgrove squad celebrated raucously in their changing room, next door the inquest began for the Pilgrims.
Canoville and fellow boss Jason Lee were left asking why their squad could not score a single goal in two contests against Evo-Stik Division One South opposition.
“When you don’t score in 180 minutes? You can be unlucky in the first game, but over 180 minutes you should be scoring goals,” a downbeat Canoville said.
The failure to progress means Boston miss out on the £4,500 cash prize which Kidsgrove have pocketed, roughly a week’s wages for the club.
This will be a hammer blow for chairman David Newton who cut the playing budget this season as he is adamant the Pilgrims will finish the season in the black.
In previous years, he has budgeted for some degree of success in the competition.
But like last season’s defeat against Worcester, United failed to get started in the competition.
Canoville says the management were also desperate for a good run, as they believed it would lift spirits all around the Jakemans Stadium.
“Every team wants to do well in the competition,” he stated.
“These are the games you want to win so you can in with a shout of a big tie.
“It’s another year I’ve been here as a manager and also as a player where we’ve gone out on the first round of the qualifiers.
“You want to do well for the club and fans, and you want to give them a day to remember.
“It brings everyone together.
“I’m just gutted right now, absolutely gutted.”
United’s day began badly with Chris Hall and Alan White both arriving at their pick-up spots on the bus route suffering from illness.
Hall, who was being sick, was sent home to avoid his germs spreading throughout the team.
White was named as a substitute but didn’t put his boots on, sitting in the stand with the injured Tom Ward, who picked up an ankle tissue problem on Saturday.
“We could have played Whitey, but when you’re not well you’re not mentally right,” the manager added.
“We missed two big players but that’s no excuse.
“The team we put out is good enough to win (Blue Square Bet North) matches.
“Overall, we didn’t do enough to win the game.”
The patched-up Pilgrims saw Ben Fairclough and Nathan Stainfield make their first starts for the club.
Lee opted to play himself in attack at the expense of Jordan Burrow.
The 40-year-old player-manager was the Pilgrims’ best player on the night, but his desperation to win the tie often saw his heart overruling his head.
After earning a booking, he continued to spend the contest berating referee Robert Jones, even running into the Grove dug out to grab a couple of matchballs in a bid to prevent the home side time-wasting, actions which could have seen him earn his marching orders.
Hall gave Kidsgrove a 19th minute lead as his 20-yard strike rifled beyond Boston keeper Paul Bastock.
And that lead was doubled by an even better finish.
With 37 minutes on the clock, Dove unleashed a terrific dipping and swerving effort from 30 yards out which flew over the fingertips of Bastock and into the net.
Bastock was the busier of the two keepers all night and had to be at his best to deny Andy Kinsey from a free kick and a strike from Ashley Carter, both seeing the veteran at full stretch.
For Boston, half chances came with Ben Fairclough rifling over after a darting run and crosses from Jordan Fairclough and Ben Milnes both being hacked away off the line.
Lee brought a fine save from Steve Hodgson with a powerful header which was just too close to the Kidsgrove number one.