Boston United 2v1 Bristol Rovers
Football League Two
10th March 2007
Boston have played on the same site at York Street since the late 19th Century under many guises, but it wasn’t until 1933 that the name of Boston United was initially used,around this time the ground was known as Shodfriars Lane,but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that the ground was renamed York Street,that’s until the recent sponsorship deal as the Staffsmart Stadium.
The Pilgrims has played in both North and South ends of the Non-League Pyramid,most of their success came in the North,winning the Northern Premier League on four occasions,including sadly missing out on election to the league in 1977 due to League ground regulations(runners up Wigan Athletic were elected instead,whatever happened to them?)But it was via the South which was their passage to the promised land of League Football,winning the Southern Premier League in 1999-00,and two years later Conference Champions and promotion to League Division Three
My trip to Boston came courtesy of a weekend away at ‘the breadknifes’ relations(Ann & Malc,my favourite Auntie & Uncle-In-Law) in Lincolnshire on the outskirts of Grantham,which as well as being a nice break,and as always an enjoyable weekend away,it also doubles as my East Midlands groundhopping base.
I’ve never been to Boston before,but I have driving through the town on a previous occasion and I remembered that as soon as you see the sign which announces ‘Welcome to Boston’ that the traffic comes to a stop,and then continues at a steady 3mph to get you from one side of the town to the other,so instead of travelling through‘traffic-jam-city’ I parked the car at the first opportunity and made my way to the ground on foot.
The ground was easy to find, as all of you groundhoppers know,and I’m sure can easily relate to,we have a built in radar which automatically redirects us towards the direction of floodlight pylons,and the lights at Boston United’s ground are easy to locate,being the good old fashioned type,tall and proud with a big square nappa.
Pre-match I called for a quick sherbet at the Sports Bar which is a smashing little club which I can recommend to visitors,it’s located in the car park at the York Street end of the ground,outside next door is the portacabin club shop.(see pic)
I stood in the Spayne Road Terrace which is a covered standing terrace which runs the length of the pitch,my first impression as I entered the ground was how spotless and tidy it is,the crash barriers looked like they had been freshly painted that morning and were a gleaming bright yellow.The reason became apparent why the place was in such pristine condition,there are rows of dustbins in front of the terrace(cannot recollect seeing this before) which the United fans are happy to use instead of littering the terraces,I even participated with confiscating my used coffee cup and I even deposited my chewing gum in the bin instead of sticking it under the crash barrier.
The players emerge from the tunnel from the corner of the York Street end, which is a small stand which has a bit of everything,the stand is two tiered with a seating area at the top where access is gained via a staircase on the terrace,there is more seating downstairs directly behind the goal with the standing areas on either side,there is a inimitable press box,and a match control area, all this squeezed into a wee 1435 capacity stand.
The Town End behind the opposite goal is for away supporters,the terrace has a short roof,so if there’s any piss-istent rain the fans would need to huddle up at the back of the stand,looking towards the right hand of the terrace is an advertisement which dominates the end,a long yellow rectangle board with ‘The Beijing Buffet’ with phone number in huge red letters,finally the main stand which is now named after the ground sponsors, the Staffsmart Stand, has a 1323 capacity and is an all seated in an assortment of various coloured seats.
The match pitted Boston who are desperate for Football League survival up against Bristol Rovers who are in the comfort zone,but with a trip to the fabulous Millennium Stadium to look forward to in the ‘Magnolia Emulsion Paint Cup’(or whatever it’s called)
The Pilgrims grabbed the 3 valuable points thanks to an early brace from Watford loanee Albert Jarrett,who scored a third minute penalty and followed up with a cracking strike to make it 2-0 after only 9 minutes,but United had to hang on as Rovers pulled a goal back midway through the second half which lead to a nervy and tense finish.