Boston United want to end 18-year itch at Leek Town as they prepare for FA Cup clash

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Boston United will travel to Harrison Park for the first time in more than 18 years today - as they look to book a place in the FA Cup’s fourth qualifying round at the expense of Leek Town.

But to do so they will have to end their five-match winless streak against the Blues, which has stood for close to two decades.

It was October 1, 1996 the last time the Pilgrims locked horns with Leek in Staffordshire.

On that day a United team including the likes of Paul Bastock, Steve Appleby, Leroy Chambers, Martin Hardy, Greg Fee, Richard Mason and Chris Withe were beaten 1-0 by their hosts in a UniBond Premier Division contest.

Since then the two clubs have gone their separate ways, with the Pilgrims hitting the heady heights of League Two before dropping back down to their current level, the Vanarama North.

That level is currently two tiers above the Evo-Stik Division One South where Town play their football.

But league standing means nothing this afternoon as the two historic rivals face off in the FA Cup’s third qualifying round, where a place in the final qualifying round and £7,500 in prize money awaits the victors.

Dennis Greene is hoping that his side - expected to include the returning Carl Piergianni (suspension) and Zak Mills (injury) - won’t be suffering any form of hangover following their 2-0 home defeat to Hednesford Town last weekend, in which a below-par performance saw them fail to muster a shot on target.

Leek also had a forgettable result last Saturday. Having defeated Tivdale in their FA Cup replay three days earlier, they were hammered 5-1 by promotion rivals Mickleover Sports.

But prior to that defeat, the Blues had been in a hot streak of form which saw them record nine victories and two draws in their previous 12 matches in all competitions.

And they returned to winning ways on Wednesday with a 3-1 league success at home to Kidsgrove Athletic, who claimed the Pilgrims’ scalp at this stage of the season three years ago.

The last meeting between the two sides came later in the 1996-97 campaign when Leek won the return fixture at York Street 2-0.

Current Pilgrims diector Chris Cook played in attack for the Pilgrims that day.

The previous season (95-96) also saw Boston fail to earn a victory at Harrison Park, although they did record two draws and one defeat.

United and Town actually faced one another six times in the 1995-96 campaign.

The two UniBond Premier matches both ended in 2-2 draws while an FA Trophy clash in Leek ended goalless, with Boston winning the replay 2-0... their one victory in the past eight meetings between the two sides.

The two rivals also met in a two-legged UniBond League Challenge Cup tie, with Leek wining both matches, 2-1 in Boston and 2-0 at home.

Kick off is at 3pm.

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