Brackley Town 2 Boston United 0: Pilgrims knocked out of the FA Cup

Marc Newsham.
Marc Newsham.

Boston United saw £7,500 in prizemoney and a place in the FA Cup’s fourth qualifying round slip through their fingers at Brackley Town.

You could say those prizes actually slipped through the fingers of goalkeeper Ashley Timms, whose uncharacteristic mistake saw Glenn Walker open the scoring just before half time.

Marc Newsham.

Marc Newsham.

But the stopper also pulled off two superb stops to thwart the Saints in the match.

For the record, Steve Diggin slotted home the second at the death as the Pilgrims were pushing forward.

The scoreline may have slightly flattered the hosts, but they were the better side throughout the contest - and Boston’s record of not having beaten a league rival away in the FA Cup will now stretch to at least 43 years.

The Pilgrims welcomed back leading scorer Marc Newsham and defender Scott Garner ahead of kick off, but captain Ian Ross was only fit enough for the bench after picking up a bruised foot during the previous weekend’s 1-0 victory over Barrow.

Jake Hall replaced Ross in the heart of midfield - his first start for the club - while Spencer Weir-Daley and Peter Bore dropped down among the substitutes.

After a tentative opening 10 minutes, Brackley were handed a golden opportunity to open the scoring, but striker Gary Mulligan was guilty of missing a sitter.

Eight yards from goal he was granted a free header to attack, but somehow he forced the ball wide of Ashley Timms’ post.

Newsham saw an effort from distance fly well wide of the Brackley goal, and Ricky Miller’s low drive was comfortably collected by Billy Turley - before the hosts again thereatened from another long ball into the box.

But as Brett Solkhon thought he was about to watch his back-post header fly into the net, Timms pulled off an acrobatic stop to -at full stretch - pluck the ball out of the air.

United again pushed on and Hall made space for himself to shoot on the edge of the Saints’ penalty area. But again a lack of pace meant Turley could comfortably collect.

An error from Timms granted Brackleyt the lead two minutes before the break.

Walker cut inside on the right flank and struck a speculative low strike towards goal, which slipped through the keeper’s hands and squirmed through his legs on its way into the net.

After the interval Newsham saw another drive fly off target while Town went close with headers from Mulligan and Diggin, while Izak Reid saw a free kick sail off target.

After making three changes and reverting to a 3-5-2 foprmation, United came within a whisker of levelling when Ben Milnes’ 20-yard strike was fingertipped onto the post by Turley.

The Saints defence were confused by a clever free kick routine which saw Milnes spin away and latch on to the poked pass, but Turley was alert enough to deny him.

Timms may have been at fault for Walker’s goal, but he again pulled off a tremendous save when Mulligan looked certain to score.

The Saints striker looked like all he had to do was celebrate his header finding the net when the keeper somehow scrambled across his goalline and clawed the ball away from the target.

United’s afternoon took another twist when manager Dennis Greene was ordered away from the dug-out by ref Dan Meeson for comments made to the official.

Boston pushed on again and a goalmouth scramble saw both Spencer Weir-Daley and Netan Sansara have strikes blocked.

But the killer blow came in the 86th minute.

With Boston committing numbers forward Brackley broke, and a two-on-one scenatrio saw Walker slip in Steve Diggin, who had the simple task of slotting beyond Timms.

BRACKLEY: Turley, Odhiambo, Sharpe, Austin, McDonald, Reid (Kaziboni 69), Solkhon, Towers, Walker, Diggin (Jarvis 89), Mulligan; Subs (not used): Story, Nisevic, Griffin, Sandy Worby.

UNITED: Timms, Galinski (Aujla 56), Garner, Piergianni, Sansara, Milnes, Marshall, Hall, Fairclough (Weir-Daley 58), Mille (Bore 58), Newsham; Subs (not used): Reed, Ross, Vince.

Ref: Daniel Meeson.

Att: 406.