Monday, 9 May 2011

Boston United 3 Guiseley AFC 2

(after extra time; aggregate 3-3; Guiseley won 3-2 on penalties)

With apologies to Thomas Babbington, Lord Macaulay and Horatius:

David Newton of Chestnut by the Board he swore
That the football club of Boston should suffer wrong no more.
By the sport’s Gods he swore it, and named a trysting day,
And bade the players ride forth,
East and West and South and North,
To show The Pilgrims’ way.

East and West and South and North the supporters too rode fast,
And tower and town and cottage have heard the Town End’s blast.
Shame on the false local who lingers in alone,
When Boston of Lincolnshire are on the march back to their Conference home.

The amber and black footmen poured in amain,
To many a Manchester market-place, to many a Yorkshire plain;
To many a tinpot hamlet, to many pitches not so fine;
Like a bouncing, chanting, scarf-twirling circus on both sides of the Pennine.

There be thirty chosen players, the finest in the land,
Who always by Jason Lee both morn and evening stand;
Week on week the Thirty have turned their foe o’er,
Tracing a course to the play-offs like mighty teams of yore.

To the Guiseley moors they came on Tuesday night;
And all around the old ground was home tumult and delight.
At the crucial moment, Peyton got it right, his shot ablaze:
A fretful wait it was to see through five long nights and days

And nearer fast and nearer did the York Street whirlwind come;
And louder still and still more loud, from underneath the confetti cloud,
Was heard the Pilgrims’ war-note proud, the bouncing and the drum,
And plainly and more plainly from the far end appear’d,
To rapture far left and far right, in endless streams of vocal might,
The long array of players bright, the mastery of fears.

And plainly and more plainly, amidst that clever rhyme,
Now might ye see the banners of the Town End shine;
But the flag of proud Townenders was highest of them all,
Fluttering atop the throng, answering the clarion call.

And when the face of Walshaw was seen among the foes,
A yell that rent the firmament from all the stand arose.
On the stepped banks was no man but glared toward him and hissed
And prayed Guiseley’s diver would have missed.

Then out spoke brave Pearson, the Captain of Boston’s fate:
‘To every team upon this earth Destiny cometh soon or late.
And how can man play better than facing hard-faced Yorkshire sods,
For the glory of the badge, and the pleasure of the football Gods’

Then out spake Churchy, a Pilgrim proud was he:
‘Lo, I will stand at thy right hand and keep the faith with thee.’
And out spake strong Canoville; of ice-cold blood was he:
‘I will abide by thy left side, and keep the faith with thee.’

Then the chosen eleven rushed on Guiseley, the start was key;
And rapid Yates of Sheffield, the rover of the central V.
And stout-hearted Pearson, with one almighty leap,
Did in the tenth minute Guiseley’s slender lead defeat

Now no sound of laughter was heard among the foes.
A wild and joyful clamour from all the Town End rose.
One goals’ length from the final for all those at play,
But for a space no man came forth to win the easy way.

But hark! The cry is Rothery: And lo! The Boston defence divide;
And the great midfielder of Guiseley with his stately stride.
Six yards’ length from the goal did he the equaliser score,
And he did his team a little closer to the final draw.

Then, when old lady time looked to have killed the Boston fight,
Church rushed against the goalkeeper and shot with all his might.
With outstretch’d arms did Drench try forlornly to turn the blow.
The blow, not turned, was sweet and low.
The Pilgrims raised a mighty cry to see the game to extra time go.

Guiseley reeled, and for the added period sought precious breathing space;
Then, like a wild-cat mad with wounds, sprang right at Boston’s face.
Through grit, and guts, and courage so fierce a thrust they sped,
Like a bloodied cage fighter surging back from the dead.

And the great Stamp unleashed one deadly stroke,
Which fell on Boston’s dreams like a thunder-smitten oak.
All o’er the pitch the Boston players lay spread;
And the pale augurs, muttering low, gazed on their spinning heads.

But at this haughty challenge a sullen murmur ran,
Mingled of belief, and pride, and fear – Yes we can!
There lacked not men of prowess, nor men of attacking grace;
For all of Boston’s finest were around this place.

Alone stood brave Davidson, but constant still in mind;
115 minutes behind him but to him Yates did find.
‘Put it in!’ cried the crowd, with hands clasped before their face.
‘Now yield thee,’ cried Davidson, ‘Now yield to your fate!’
Down to penalties had come this season’s race.

No sound of joy or sorrow was heard from either rank;
But friends and foes in dumb surprise, with parted lips and straining eyes,
Stood gazing from the bank;
And when valiant Church drew to the spot near,
All Boston sent forth a rapturous cry to alleviate his fear.
He found the net, but the crowd could scarce forbear to cheer.

But fickle runs the fortune, and today it would be pain,
Sleath and Jellyman stepped up but came back heartbroken again:
And heavy with the pressure, and spent with changing blows:
Boyes thundered his kick against the post.

And though we may feel at the bottom, us loyal madcap fans;
We must rally round the players, because they in shafts of glory stand;
And now, with shouts and clapping, and noise of cheering loud
We reflect upon this fine season and feel mighty bloody proud.

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