Blues Online first caught up with current manager and then player, Stuart Boardley, to talk about his memories of that great cup run: -
Leiston FA Cup Run 2008
Round by Round……..
'Firstly, The FA CUP is THE most special competition for any non-league footballer to be involved in. It has its financial rewards for the clubs that progress which can often be a lifeline to many at this level but it offers so much more to fans and players alike. It is simply a special competition and one that I had the privilege of playing in many times as well as reaching the first-round proper on two occasions. Once was on the wrong end of a cup upset when Torquay United were knocked out at non-league Hinckley United who unfortunately are no longer in existence. The second was with Leiston culminating in the run we had below which was undoubtedly the best moments I have been involved with at Non-League level.'
Blackstones (H) Won 2-1
March Town (A) Won 3-1
Cornard United (A) Won 5-0
'These three early rounds proved to be just the start of an unforgettable journey that captured the imagination of not only the town of Leiston but Suffolk Non-League football in general. Ten years is a long time in football and I wish I could remember every detail of the path to the first round but the only lasting memory of these rounds were relief that we were able to progress against teams we were fancied to beat.'
Carshalton Athletic (A) Won 2-1
This is where I remember thinking “things are getting serious”! I think we all knew that we had a very talented squad of players and a real togetherness that we just felt might take us beyond where we should realistically go! This was a great game against hard opposition and we nicked a win in a spirited performance away from home! The lasting memory of this was The Chairman bursting into the dressing room screaming “come on, come on” and then a certain Michael Brothers bundling a certain BBC Suffolk Radio presenter into the shower!
Coalville Town (H) Won 1-0
'A very tight game once again and this is where I remember the coverage of the media really ramping up! It was a nervy game and was a case of a penalty missed and one scored. Fortunately, I managed to slot home our penalty when Lee Mcglone was tripped when through on goal to send us through to the next round.'
Lewes (H) Drew 1-1
'It was a helter-skelter game with not an awful lot of quality, a typical FA CUP tie I guess. From memory I think Lewes dominated the game, but we were able to hang on with Heady, Goldy and Stannners making some terrific blocks and saves to keep us in the hat! I think we all felt that now we had survived all they could throw at us we had a real chance of making history for the club in the replay!'
Lewes (A) Replay Won 3-1
'What a memory this was! Probably my favourite throughout my whole career. On a personal note it was fantastic to get two good goals and all the media attention that came with that but the whole experience was just unforgettable. We had the Danny Cunningham incident on the way to the game which was a big blow as he was not able to play at the last minute! He had scored the equaliser in the previous game and was a big character for us, but I guess it showed the togetherness in the squad to perform in the way we did and beat opposition from two steps higher.'
Fleetwood Town (H) Drew 0-0
'The most frustrating game ever…… I was suspended due to picking up a fifth booking in a preceding game for trying to take a quick freekick before the referee was ready! What a crowd of 1250 people we had at this game although I’m sure there seemed like double that amount! I just remember a chance they had with ten minutes left, a header six yards out that the lad planted towards the top corner. I thought, that’s it they have won it, then out of nowhere came one of the best saves I still have witnessed live by Jamie Stannard to tip it onto the bar and out for a corner. Like the Lewes game, we all really wondered whether that moment was meant to be and a result in the replay was possible.'
Fleetwood Town (A) Replay Lost 2-0
'For the fans I guess the day was a great memory, but I only look back on this day now with disappointment. I just don’t think we turned up, if we had been beat by better opposition and we had played well as a footballer you sometimes have to hold your hands up, but this was not the case. We were gutted, I can never remember a dressing room so down after this game, particularly given what we had achieved as a group. The game was a blur really, one I cannot really remember too much about, but it only seems like yesterday in my mind, certainly not 10 years ago as this is written. There was a good night had after the game as we had an overnight stay in Blackpool, players, fans, staff all together as it all had started several months earlier.'
Fantastic memories and ones that we be with us all for a lifetime!
The squad that made it all possible………
Mark Goldfinch, who was centre-back alongside David Head at the time, also shared his thoughts on the FA Cup run in 2008: -
'I can remember the early rounds much like any other season really in terms that Leiston were only expected to get through a couple of rounds'. It's more a distraction from the league and it's always nice to make a little prize money for the club. We knew however that we had a good squad and with the right draw could get to the 3rd or 4th qualifying round. The first game that really sticks in the memory was Carshalton away. They were two levels above and doing well but Chris Sillett scored late on and there was a massive buzz after that game. I do remember they didn't take defeat very well as they failed to come in the clubhouse. The Coalville game is one i'll remember as beng a tight affair as we both played at the same level. But we could beat anyone at home. I do remember Simon Warr doing an interview after the game and one of the players put a steaming hot potato on my head during the interview on the radio! The Lewes game at home we weren't expected to do much as they were in the Conference but they were bottom. We deserved our draw but an away trip on the South Coast on a Tuesday night was not ideal. The game was probably the highlight of my career, winning away to a Conference team to make the First Round Proper. The Fleetwood match we were also underdogs and was a probably a tougher match to be honest. I think they arrived expecting an easy win and they rest a few of their better players. We were unlucky not to win the game but a draw was still a great result. The Replay near Blackpool came with an overnight stay and was a great experience but I think we ran out of steam altough we didn't go down wothout a fight. They deserved their victory on the night but it was an exceptional run with great players at a great club, something I will never forget.'
Craig Cooper lastly spoke to Blues Online about the FA Cup that season: -
'I can remember the early part of the season really well. I missed the first couple of league games, so the first match I watched was Blackstones at home. Danny Cunningham and Blake Saker put the Blues ahead and Blackstones got a late goal but Leiston thankfully held on. The game away to March Town was a hard match, with Danny Cunningham scoring a superb free kick that meant Leiston won 3-1. We beat Cornard United 5-0 in a match I didn't attend, but when Leiston were drawn away to Carshalton Athletic, things started to get exciting. There were about a dozen supporters singing all game at Carshalton, and Lee McGlone put Leiston ahead with virtually the last kick of the first half. However, the host levelled with around twenty minutes remaining, but sub Chris Sillett came on to get a last gasp winner. Leiston were then drawn at home to Coalville Town in the Third Qualifying Round. I can remember Stuart Boardley thumping his penalty in, but Coalville missed a spot kick of their own. The second half seemed like a lifetime, but we held on and I remember going to the local Indian Restaurant after (Cinnamon) along with some supporters and the players and coaching staff to celebrate. We defended well against Lewes and after going a goal down, Danny Cunningham equalised at the start of the second period. I watched the draw the next day and we got some good highlights and then we drew Fleetwood at home, if we could win the Replay. The support we took to Lewes was excellent that night and everyone played their part. Stuart Boardley's goals were fantastic, and it was good to see Luke Eagle get on the scoresheet also in a 3-1 win. I believe Joe Button and Chris Sillett came on as subs which was good to see the local players playing there part.'
Updated 16:31 - 4 Jan 2019 by Craig Cooper
'The Fleetwood home match was a tight affair, but Leiston had the better of the chances. Lee McGlone netted late on but the offside flag was raised so another Replay it was. If we would have beaten Fleetwood, Hartlepool United at home was the next game in Round 2. After competing well in the first period, Fleetwood got an early goal and dominated the second half and ran out 2-0 winners. But everyone still talks about that FA Cup run from that season and it will never be forgetten at Leiston FC.'