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Reserves 5-2 Hykeham Town

Lincolnshire League

Report by Colin Woodcock

United Reserves returned to action on Saturday and recorded an emphatic 5-2 victory over a very physical Hykeham side. With illness and injury striking both the first team and the Reserves, it was a very youthful side fielded by United manager John Luffman. And it was United kids who gave the Hykeham side a lesson in how to play football with a first half performance of pure quality from everyone in a Pilgrims' shirt. From individual skills to one-touch moves, the United faithful were given a real treat. United opened the scoring with 15 minutes on the clock through the fit again Paul WATTS. WATTS first half performance did wonders for his confidence and just before the break, he added a second and United's fourth with a great shot from the edge of the box following a good move down the United right involving Dane Thornton and Danny Harrison. In between Watts' brace came two wonderful goals. The second of these came from the impressive Gary WALTERS who, as he did throughout the entire 90 minutes, mesmerised his man before slotting a right foot shot just inside the near post. United's third came from young striker Anthony ELDING, who crashed home a right foot volley from 15 yards following a quick throw from the quick thinking Walters. Hykeham pulled one back just before the break, but it was United's second string who went in the happier of the two sides. During the half-time break, Watts, whose 45 minutes marked another important step back on the road to full fitness, was replaced by another youngster Glen Kill.

Within three minutes of the restart, the Reserves suffered their biggest blow so far this season when skipper for the day Neil Timby was carried off with a broken ankle following another late Hykeham challenge. This enforced another change and Luffman was given his Reserve team debut. Losing their skipper was a big shock for the United youngsters, who failed to add to the early second half strike from the impressive Danny DACK. Instead, they put in a hard working performance to ensure their victory. Nobody more so than stand-in skipper Leigh Taylor, who showed that he not only has the quality as a striker, but as a midfield player also. With nine under-19s on the field near the end, Hykeham came at United's second string and added to their tally after debutant Luffman inadvertently put the ball in the back of his own net following a half stop from keeper Crew. But the young Pilgrims coped well with the pressure, with Gary Pawson and Alan Ross performing admirably at the heart of the United defence. Even under such pressure, Boston were able to create many chances with Elding, Walters, Dack and Taylor all going close for the home side. As the final whistle sounded, it was a proud John Luffman who followed his team into the dressing room. Commented United's boss: "The first half display was the best football we've played this season. It was a joy to watch. However, the loss of Neil Timby is a big blow, he's been immense up to now."

United team: 1. Lee Crew, 2. Gary Pawson, 3. Neil Timby, 4. Dane Thornton, 5. Alan Ross, 6. Danny Dack, 7. Danny Harrison, 8. Leigh Taylor, 9. Paul Watts, 10. Anthony Elding, 11. Gary Walters, 12. Glen Kill, 14. James Fletcher, 15. Jack Luffman.