Two-goal Stuart the toast of Suffolk

TWO-GOAL Stuart Boardley was the toast of Suffolk today after firing Leiston into the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in the club's 127-year history.

Nick Garnham

TWO-GOAL Stuart Boardley was the toast of Suffolk today after firing Leiston into the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in the club's 127-year history.

Boardley netted twice as Leiston, the lowest-ranked side left in the competition, sensationally dumped Blue Square Premier side Lewes out of the competition in last night's fourth qualifying round replay.

The Ridgeons League Premier Division side caused a major upset as they won 3-1 at the Dripping Pan in east Sussex against opponents who play four leagues higher than them.


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Boardley, 23, revealed that none of his family were able to watch him last night after his 80-year-old grandad Ron was taken into hospital yesterday.

“He is very ill. He was at the match on Saturday and would have loved to have been there last night.

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“I am quite sad that he was not able to be there, but hopefully he will have heard how we got on and it will lift his spirits.”

Boardley, who spent ten years at Ipswich Town as a youngster but never made it to the first-team squad, said last night's win was the best moment of his career.

Stuart, who is the younger brother of World stock car champion Carl Boardley, said: “I have played in the third round with Torquay, but reaching the first round with Leiston is a much greater achievement as we have had to play seven games to get there.

“It was great to see the chairman and vice-chairman, who have put so much into the club and not really had the success they deserve, enjoying the victory. This win will help to put the name of Leiston on the map.”

Boardley put Leiston ahead after 15 minutes and after Luke Eagle made it 2-0 on the hour half, midfielder Boardley scored a superb third just before the hour mark.

He said: “It was one of the best goals I have scored - and I can't think of many more important goals to top that. The ball dropped to me just outside the area and, after skipping past a couple of defenders, I closed my eyes and hit it as hard as I could.”

Leiston's victory was worth £12,500 and has taken their earnings from prize money alone in this season's competition to nearly £30,000.

They will now face Fleetwood Town, who play in the Blue Square North - one league below Lewes - at home in the first round proper a week on Saturday or possibly Sunday if the tie is chosen for live television screening, when victory would earn the club a further £20,000.

Boardley, who has worked as a trainee quantity surveyor with Ipswich firm Brooks and Wood for the past two years, said: “I would not go so far as to say we will be favourites, but we have got a chance with the way we are playing and, with the squad we have got, I would fancy us against anyone - even lower Football League opposition.”

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