GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 2 BOSTON UNITED 0: Pilgrims are out of the FA Cup

Dennis Greene.
Dennis Greene.

As Boston United exited the FA Cup at the first hurdle they can look back at two efforts which struck the woodwork and a series of fine saves from Jan Budtz.

They can also rue an 18th-minute injury to Jay Rollins which left their pre-match gameplan in disarray.

They could also point the finger at poor marking which allowed Marc Newsham to score against the club he left in the summer, and ask questions as to why Nathan Jarman’s thunderous free kick was allowed to beat all in front of him.

There’s also the fact that Boston had to use up two substitutions before the second half kicked off as keeper Henrich Ravas replaced Jason Alexander following a groin strain.

But at the end of the day, there’s no place for excuses.

Gainsborough Trinity are in Monday’s draw for the FA Cup’s third qualifying round and the Pilgrims aren’t not because of misfortune but, once again, because Boston failed to convert their chances.

Just like the previous week’s defeat to AFC Fylde, United suffered a frustrating defeat by narrow margins.

It’s not that Dennis Greene’s side are the second best team on the pitch. It’s just that they, over the past two weeks, have been the second best at scoring, something which is hard to take for a team which found the net for fun during long spells of last season.

Victories over United, it seems, are like London buses for Trinity.

After 19 seasons without victory over their Lincolnshire rivals, they have managed two in the space of four weeks at the Northolme.

Boston made three changes to the team which was beaten 3-0 by Fylde the previous weekend, with Grant Roberts, Kyle Dixon and Rollins coming in for Jordan Richards, Jay Dowie and the injured Lartey Sarpong.

Rollins was pushed up front to join Dayle Southwell in attack, while Scott Garner returned to central defence alongside Carl Piergianni, with Zak Mills moving out to his favoured right back role.

Ex-Pilgrim Newsham was named up front for the Blues, replacing Nicholas Bignall, whose goal saw Trinity win the league contest in Gainsborough four weeks earlier.

Both sides began by taking the game to their opponents, Nathan Jarman firing a dipping volley inches wide of the United goal and, at the other end, Rollins bringing a save from Budtz after latching onto Roberts’ neat through ball.

But two flashpoints in the 18th minute handed the advantage to Trinity.

Firstly, Rollins, who had frustrated the hosts’ defence with his pace, was replaced by Mark Jones following an ankle injury.

As he left the field he took the Pilgrims’ pre-match gameplan with him.

Just seconds later the Blues were in front as Newsham latched onto fellow ex-Pilgrim Jamie Yates’ long throw to place his close-range effort beyond Alexander.

A Newsham goal from a Yates assist. How many times has that worked in amber shirts?

If anything though, that goal only spurred the Pilgrims on, with Budtz somehow clawing away Southwell’s header and Jones’ follow-up being blocked on the goalline.

Trinity defender Jake Picton then headed a Roberts cross behind for a corner as Jones was lurking dangerously.

Carl Piergianni - who missed the league meeting between the two sides through suspension - was lucky not to receive his marching orders when Jarman got goalside of him.

The Boston defender clearly pulled his opponent back, but referee Paul Graham allowed play to continue and Jarman’s weak effort was palmed away by Alexander.

Trinity doubled their advantage five minutes before the break as Jarman smashed home a superb free kick from the edge of the penalty area.

His drive evaded the wall and continued to rise beyond Alexander and into the net.

And it could have been worse before the interval as Newsham saw a left-footed effort on the spin loop over the United bar.

The Pilgrims began the second half with Ravas replacing Alexander in goal, the number one suffering a groin strain, but they were immediately on the front foot, Budtz forced into saving Piergianni’s header following Mills’ long throw.

The defender went even closer moments later, meeting Nicky Walker’s corner but seeing his effort bounce up and clip the bar.

United struck the crossbar twice in a minute as, from another Walker corner, Southwell’s hooked effort met the same fate.

Question marks were raised when Jarman burst through the United back line, rounded Ravas and went to ground, referee Graham awarding United the free kick but taking no action against the forward, suggesting he handled the ball in the build-up.

As United continued to look to pull themselves back into the game, Budtz again saved his side as he pushed Walker’s drive around his post.

Substitute Bignall had a chance to wrap things up as his fresh legs took him clear of the United defence, but his left-footed effort landed the wrong side of Ravas’ near post.

TRINITY: Budtz, Roma, Lacey, D’Laryea, Quinn, Picton, Russell, Davis (Brogan 90), Newsham (Forrest 77), Jarman (Bignall 68), Yates; Subs (not used): Stamp, Binns, Wilson, Hedge.

UNITED: Alexander (Ravas HT), Roberts, Marrs, Mills, Garner, Piergianni, Rollins, Dixon, Southwell, Walker, Greene (Richards 72); Subs (not used): Dowie, Limb, Johnson.

Ref: Paul Graham.

Att: 725.