SOLIHULL MOORS 1 BOSTON UNITED 0: FA Trophy hopes crushed by late fumble

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Boston United’s FA Trophy dreams became a late nightmare at Solihiull Moors.

Callum Gittings was gifted a match-winning 80th-minute tap-in after Pilgrims keeper Henrich Ravas dropped a routine cross into his box.

Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for United who - despite being under strength - took the game to their hosts and dominated the contest in the driving rain and skiddy surface.

But the one stat which counts is the scoreline and it was Moors who progressed following this third-qualifying round tie.

Boston and cup competitions have been as complementary as ice cream and tomato ketchup in recent seasons, and once again those fans in amber and black were left rueing what could have been.

But for the majority of the day’s action at Damsen Park, it appeared that United could be in the hat for the draw, forcing a replay at least.

But yet again, the Pilgrims fell at the first hurdle.

With captain Scott Garner suspended and John Sands ruled out with illness, Dennis Greene was forced into making two changes to the side which left Alfreton with a 2-1 victory a week earlier.

Kaine Felix returned to the starting XI for just the second time since picking up an ankle injury in the 4-1 National League North defeat to Moors at the Jakemans Stadium in August, while Ryan Robbins returned to join Dayle Southwell in attack.

The first half ended goalless, but it wasn’t without incident.

For the hosts, Ryan Beswick saw his effort from 30-yards saved by Henrich Ravas.

When the Slovakian was beaten by Adam Walker’s low drive along the sodden surface, the ball rebounded back into play off the inside of the post.

Boston created the better chances in the opening 45 minutes, Southwell also seeing an effort strike the base of the upright, and the same man firing into the side netting after meeting Grant Roberts corner at the near post.

Carl Piergianni met another Roberts corner, only for Beswick to hack his goalbound header off the line.

And when Robbins jinked and bustled his way into the box from the right, his scuffed effort trickled weakly wide.

Just eight minutes after the re-start an ankle injury picked up in the first half saw Robbins replaced by Cameron Johnson.

But it didn’t dampen the spirits of the rainsoaked away side as they contiunued to take the game to their hosts, Zak Mills the next to chance his luck with an effort flying over the bar.

Johnson’s first involvement was to set Southwell free, only for Moors keeper Benjamin Siegrist - on loan from Aston Villa - to get down well and parry the strike.

The Solihull stopper was then called upon to claw away Jordan Blinco’s deflected effort, which was looking to be looping inside his post, while another Southwell effort lacked the curl to land inside the post.

Solihull attacked sporidacally, but were frusgtrated by vital interventions from Piergianni and Dylan McEvoy, so much so that Callum Gottings tried his luck from 30 yards out, and missed the target horribly.

But all that changed in the 80th minute as substitute Gittings tapped home from close range after Ravas failed to hold on to a cross into the penalty area.

It was a cruel blow for United, who had hardly been troubled in the second half.

That lead could have been doubled seconds later as the wind was visibly knocked from Boston’s sails, but Beswick’s strike struck the crossbar.

There was one final chance for Greene’s side to earn a replay, but Kyle Dixon, through on goal, brought out a fine block from Siegrist.

MOORS: Siegrist, Streete, Daly, Cowan (Gittings 66), English, Walker (Leslie 77), Beswick, Franklin, Knights, Asante, Moore; Subs (not used): Dean, Byrne, Acton.

UNITED: Ravas, Marrs, Mills, Piergianni, McEvoy, Felix (Rollins 61), Richards, Roberts, Blinco (Dixon 82), Southwell, Robbins (Johnson 53); Subs: Alexander.

Ref: Anthony Tankard.

Att: 319.