Boston United 3 Stamford AFC 0
(Jake Wright 17, 24, Ainge 89)
Jake Wright marked his return to Boston United with a first-half double as the Pilgrims booked their place in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup semi-finals.
The striker - back for his second loan spell from York City - appeared to have lost none of his desire to ruffle feathers with his constant running and eye for goal.
His first-half double gave United a lead visitors Stamford couldn’t catch, taking his tally to four goals in five appearances for Craig Elliott’s side.
Wright struck twice in the opening 45 minutes to put the Pilgrims into a lead that was even more comfortable than the scoreline suggested, Simon Ainge opening his account in the final minute.
The warning signs were there early on as Jordan Thewlis bent an effort the wrong side of Dan Haystead’s post before the former United number one got down well to parry Wright’s stinger at his near post.
But there was little he could do to deny Wright a 17th-minute opener, the striker hooking his powerful volley high into the net from 10 yards out.
The goal owed as much to Jay Rollins’ delivery as it did the hooked finish, the club captain leaving Josh Egginton for dead with a series of mesmerising step overs before driving the ball to his teammate.
Wright finished off another well-worked goal seven minutes later.
Quick feet from Thewlis’ saw the striker hold the ball long enough to slip in the overlapping Alex Whittle, Wright trapping his low delivery on the six-yard box before beating Haystead on the spin.
Egginton’s backside denied Wright a first-half hat-trick after the forward collected another Whittle pass and beat Haystead, only for the Daniels defender to deflect over.
United were comfortably in control - Brad Abbott and Thewlis allowing a little showboating to sneak into their play - but received a reminder that the contest was still far from won when James Hicks snuck in behind the hosts’ defence, Peter Crook using his legs to save his opponent’s effort and his teammates’ blushes.
There was to be no match ball for Wright, who was replaced by Nicky Walker at the interval.
With the danger man off the pitch Whittle fancied his chances of switching from provider to goalscorer, forcing a firm stop from Haystead as he cut in from the left.
Things got a little feisty as former Pilgrim Liam Adams saw yellow for a late challenge on George Green before Luke Shiels joined him in the book, clattering into Dec O’Hare with force.
George Willis pulled off a wonderful save at full-stretch to palm away Tom Siddons’ header after replacing Peter Crook between the sticks. Another warning sign.
United were forced to finish with 10 men as Green, receiving treatment twice, wasn’t risked further with the National League Season five just days away.
And that’s where Boston will now turn their attention, although they now have a county cup semi-final to fit into their schedule, facing the winners of Gainsboerough and Grantham, who meet tomorrow.
Haystead denied Walker in the 89th minute, but could do nothing as the same player delivered a corner which Ainge headed into the net to truly kill the contest, Stamford’s hopes of getting anything from the game hampered further as Harry Vince hobbled off.
UNITED: Crook (Willis 64), Middleton, Whittle, Platt, Ainge, Shiels, Green, Abbott, Wright (Walker HT), Thewlis (Clare 64), Rollins (Byrne 76).
STAMFORD: Haystead, Dawson, Egginton, Challinor (Setchell HT), Wright, Blunden, Chitiza, Vince, Hicks (O’Hare 68), Mwanyongo (Siddons HT), Matwasa (Adams 68); Subs (not used): Tarris.
REF: Kevin Saunby.