Kidsgrove Athletic 2 Boston United 0 

Kidsgrove pulled of one of the biggest shocks of the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round by knocking out Blue Square North side Boston United at the Seddon Stadium on Tuesday evening.

An excellent first half performance was the foundation to the victory, producing two well-taken goals, the first from Sam Hall and then a stunning 30 yard strike from captain Craig Dove. As in the first match, Athletic then produced a determined second half defensive display to keep Boston at bay and ensure a place in the 3rd Qualifying Round for only the second time in their history.

That match will be a home game on 15th October against Long Buckby of the United Counties League with a place in the final qualifying round on offer to the winners, along with £7,500 in prize money.

Kidsgrove were hit with a double dose of bad news before kick off, with striker Dave Walker, who had been sent off in the first match at Boston, unable to recover from an injury and Tom Urwin moving to Nantwich Town after the weekend’s game.

The home side started brightly with Steve Brannan sending in a looping shot after a free kick that went just wide, and Ash Carter having an attempt from the edge of the area saved by Paul Bastock in the Boston goal. The Pilgrims responded with shots from Ben Fairclough and Jason Lee which were both too high to trouble Steve Hodgson.

On 17 minutes, Athletic put together a good passing move which released Brannan on the right but his run was ended by what seemed to be a push before he was able to play the ball into the danger area. This only proved to be a temporary reprieve for the visitors, however, as two minutes later, Brannan again picked up the ball and picked out Andy Kinsey whose perfectly-weighted lay off was driven low into the goal by Sam HALL from the edge of the area.

Kidsgrove were looking comfortable against their Conference North opponents, but Boston should really have equalised on the half hour mark, when Lee headed straight at Hodgson from a Ben Milnes corner, when directing it either side would have given the keeper no chance of making a save.

Two minutes later, Ross Davidson was hauled down 20 yards from goal and the resulting free-kick from Kinsey was tipped around the post by Bastock. Carter then forced the experienced goalkeeper into action again with a fierce shot that he could only punch away, with the ball narrowly evading an onrushing Kinsey.

Athletic extended the lead in spectacular style on 37 minutes. A Brannan cross caused panic in the Boston area and with many of the home players appealing for a penalty for handball, the ball was half-cleared to Craig DOVE 30 yards from goal who hit a stunning volley over Bastock and into the net.

Grove were no doubt expecting a second half onslaught from the Pilgrims, but it was the home side who started on the offensive with Kinsey feeding Carter whose shot was blocked for a corner. Carter then beat two Boston defenders before whipping in a cross that Brannan could only head wide from a difficult angle.

On 53 minutes, Hodgson was forced to make a fine diving save after Lee’s flick had found Ben Fairclough, and ten minutes later Fairclough was again involved as his cross fell to Gareth Jellyman who shot high over the bar when well-placed.

Athletic’s opportunities were becoming more limited as they sat back and absorbed the pressure being applied by Boston, but Davidson ran free through the middle with 20 minutes remaining and passed to Carter who was just beaten to the ball by Bastock. Two minutes later, Kidsgrove won a free kick that was taken by Carter, eventually dropping to Brannan who dragged his shot wide.

At the back, Kidsgrove’s defence was coping admirably and while Boston were enjoying the better of the territory, they were unable to generate any clear chances as the time ticked away.

With 3 minutes time added, Grove were able to easily run down the clock in the corners to record a memorable and impressive victory.

Team: Hodgson, D Smith, Taylor, Ward, Johnson, Dove, Brannan (Griggs 90+1), Hall, Davidson, Kinsey, Carter. Unused subs: Twigg, Basford, Morris.

Last updated: 8th October 2011, 19:08