FA CUP EXTRA PRELIMINARY ROUND REPLAY: Walsham-le-Willows 1 Boston Town 3: Paul Smith has called on his Walsham-le-Willows squad to get over the disappointment of their FA Cup exit and get back to winning ways.
The Willows saw their hopes of starting a memorable run ended as their ChromaSport and Trophies United Counties League Premier Division opponents progressed courtesy of a brace from Matt Kennedy and further strike from Jordan Nuttell, after Nathan Birch had previously levelled for the hosts.
But with Thurlow Nunn Premier Division action returning tomorrow with a trip to Felixstowe and Walton United (3pm), Smith is well aware there cannot be any lasting effects of a cup exit hangover.
“We knew what we had to do, but unfortunately it just didn’t work,” said Smith, whose side drew 1-1 with the Poachers in the first encounter on Saturday. “Having a run in this competition would have been good for the whole club, but that is something we have to get over.
“Felixstowe on paper are one of the strongest sides in the league, but they haven’t started well, so if we can play to our best ability then we won’t be far wrong.”
After an even start to the tie in which Danny Barrett curled a free-kick narrowly over for the visitors and Willows’ Andrew Wood spurned a good opportunity, it was Boston who broke the deadlock in the 28th minute.
Kennedy latched on to an angled drive over the top, before keeping his cool to deceive the onrushing Lee Pacey and smartly flick the ball into the net, despite the best efforts of Dan Easlea on the line.
The home side responded strongly and came inches away from levelling 11 minutes later, but Wood could only watch on as his low drive came crashing back off the left upright.
However, Walsham went into the interval on level terms as Birch rose highest to head home Easlea’s corner just a minute before the break.
The visitors started the second half galvanised and should have regained their lead twice in as many minutes, but Jack Burrows could not capitalise when firing golden opportunities wide of the mark on both occasions.
Nuttell spurned another clear chance, dragging his shot wide, before the striker eventually put Boston back ahead in the 82nd minute as he brilliantly beat Birch before lofting the ball over Pacey.
Kennedy spurned further opportunities to calm any Boston nerves before the visitors were given a let-off of their own in the 90th minute as Easlea’s dipping 25-yard free-kick came back off the crossbar.
However, with the Willows pouring men forward, Kennedy raced clear with seconds remaining before nonchalantly lifting the ball over Pacey to seal the visitors’ progression into the next round.