SPALDING UNITED 2 BOSTON TOWN 3 (AET): Josh Ford came back to haunt the Tulips on Tuesday night as Boston Town pulled off one the biggest UCL upsets of the season so far.
The ex-Spalding striker headed an extra-time winner to settle an incredible UCL Knockout Cup tie at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field – avenging their 12-0 league loss from back in October.
Ford had earlier rifled Boston ahead with a well-placed 25-yard free kick on the half hour, only for Ross Watson to dramatically force the additional period with a last-gasp leveller. Normal service then looked to be resumed when Adam Jackson (94) smashed a simply stunning 25-yard effort into the top right corner, but sub Tom Hobson (107) equalised for Boston before Ford’s late clincher (117).
Spalding boss Pat Rayment was angry with his side as their hopes of retaining the trophy were dashed, but took the chance to praise Boston too.
“We were calamitous,” admitted Rayment. “Some of our play reminded me of last season, especially defensively.
“I think some of the players just thought the result would take care of itself.
“I have to give huge credit to Boston Town and pass on my congratulations. To go from losing 12-0 in the league to this shows great character.
“The likes of Paul Goodhand, Ollie Pinner and Nick Jackson will have been wounded by that result and they have restored some pride.”
The first half of the second round clash won’t live long in the memory, but Ford’s precise set-piece was the stand-alone highlight. Some 22-yards out and pretty central, he picked out the far right corner with ease.
Mark Jones did have the ball in the net seconds later, but his effort was ruled out with the ball having gone out of play beforehand.
Spalding improved after the break and tested Ricky Drury on numerous occasions. He superbly denied a clean-through Jones, before acrobatically tipping a late Chris Hall drive wide.
Drury was beaten bang on 90 minutes though, with Watson converting his first Tulips goal at the near post with a clever prodded finish.
There looked only one winner heading into extra time – especially when Jackson picked out the very top corner with one of the goals of the season so far just four minutes in.
Boston looked knackered, but dug deep to level when Hobson converted Daryl Clare’s cross at the near post early in the second period.
Amazingly, Ford then capitalised on hesitant defending to head the winner past the onrushing Tom Roberts to seal a memorable upset.
Tulips: Roberts, Watson, Jackson, Stevens, Stainfield, Webb, Beeson, Steadman (Hall 75), Jones, Cotton, Thurlbourne. Not used: Duggan.