Pre-season preparations were whacked up another notch on Thursday with the start of the Lincolnshire Senior Shield. Boston still aren’t allowed to compete in the ‘big boys’ playground - the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy - so another tour of the county’s football backwaters awaited. Lincoln United were chosen as this year’s quarter-final cannon fodder, with the tantalising (sarcasm) prospect of a trip to Gainsborough in the last four on offer.
When the draw was made, it didn’t take long to figure out the logistics. JB might not have yet found the nerve to check his final degree mark - “I owe them fifty quid in library fines, so I can’t graduate anyway” - but he has, most conveniently for this occasion, decided to live in Lincoln this year. His new abode is very pleasant, despite the low bathroom ceiling which gave me acute concussion when I clobbered into it in the dark on Friday morning and it’s proximity to Sincil Bank. A sofa for the night was offered and I hopped on the train.
The whole trip proved quite the bargain. Admission prices were listed as £6 for adults and £4 concessions but both me and JB gained access to the ground for just £3 after he scrambled the mind of the poor, short-sighted old boy on the turnstile by asking for student discount. A ten pound note was offered to cover the £8 we expected this to cost, but £7 was returned in change! This was the cheapest football I’ve seen since the Boston Standard printed ‘Kids for a Quid’ vouchers back in the day. Naturally, in the spirit of cross-county friendship, the excess money was swiftly put behind the (burger) bar, which was quite overwhelmed by the number of ravenous Boston fans. Emergency burgers were called upon, probably thawing out in the back room from our last visit in 2009.
Paul Bastock and Kevin Austin were given an early night, replaced by Ricky Drury and Jason Field slotting in at the back. Liam Parker started alongside trialists Ben Wilkinson and Ben Milnes in midfield, after the pair impressed against Wigan. I assume they’re going to be signed, otherwise they’d have fucked off by now. Can’t have them cup tied in this prestigious competition, drives their value right down.
United breezed through the first-half and sat navs were being re-tuned to Gainsborough by half-time. Milnes crossed from the right and Lee Canoville, with a header which can only be described as seismic, put United on their way after half an hour. The thud could be heard in Grantham but Canners doesn’t worry about little things like neurological conditions.
Five minutes later, Wilkinson, son of Howard, crossed from the same side and Mickey Stones popped up at the back post to double the lead. Marc Newsham, looking more on the pace than he did on his return from injury on Saturday, niftily slotted in a third just before the break after Stones turned provider. It was even enough to finally silence the annoying squawky woman stood near us who knew all the team by their first name as though she had mothered them all in a large council property.
The second half was pretty dull, with Lincoln pulling back a late consolation through Kallum Smith. The same player had earlier been denied by a terrific goalline block from Canoville, who clearly doesn’t subscribe to the philosophy that at 3-0 up in pre-season you don’t have to risk breaking all your bones.
Good night all round. Even the sofa was comfy.
Next Match: Boston United v Mansfield Town at York Street on Saturday