Lincoln City 1-1 Pilgrims
by Barbara Singleton
Richard Logan's sixth goal in five starts since joining Boston United on loan from Ipswich Town laid the platform for the Pilgrims to pocket another vital point in their quest to climb clear of the Third Division drop zone. The 20-year-old striker's 56th minute contribution helped United to recover from falling adrift to a Simon Weaver goal in the 10th minute. And arguably on a heavy and clawing Sincil Bank pitch, a share of the spoils was probably a fair result between the county rivals. The one point netted by Boston hoisted them up to 23 from 25 matches played and still kept them at the head on the "mini-league" of five sides in the basement zone. But just as importantly, it took United's unbeaten run to four matches over the festive period. And United boss Neil Thompson was satisfied with the return. He said: "We knew what we would be up against and would have to stand big and tall and resist everything they threw at us early on. Unfortunately from our point of view we conceded a sloppy goal which made things a bit tougher for us. But the players showed great character and terrific spirit and we came back well in the second half. Richard (Logan) did well to keep his scoring run going and I thought it was a good point achieved in front of some excellent support for the team. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I thought our fans were superb all afternoon." The go-ahead for the match was sanctioned by referee Alan Kaye - who turned in a fine performance, with no cards shown amid plenty of common sense - after City ground staff had worked hard to get the pitch into a reasonable state. The opening phases saw Lincoln generally have the greater share of possession, and they threw forward towering centre back Ben Futcher at every possible opportunity to try and impose his height on the Boston back line. He did well to flick on Paul Morgan's early free-kick into the path of Weaver whose shot-on-the-turn was deflected wide by Paddy McCarthy. Next, Steve Watts' low shot was hacked clear by the Boston rearguard. Boston, though, almost took the lead on nine minutes in bizarre fashion when Futcher miscued Ben Chapman's centre and nearly sent the ball beyond Alan Marriott, although the former Tottenham keeper did well to smother on the line.
But a minute later it was Lincoln who went ahead when WEAVER fired past Paul Bastock after McCarthy had slipped when trying to cut out Stuart Bimson's low ball forward. Boston midfielder Alex Higgins was forced off in the 20th minute after another worrying blackout. His replacement was Tom Bennett who was soon in the action, seeing a long-range effort well gathered by Marriott. In reply, Peter Gain's run into the Boston half resulted in him firing a 20-yarder marginally over Bastock's bar. Redfearn's 30-yard bullet shot sailed over the angle after Chapman had won the ball off Paul Smith to create the opening. Next, Gain's long-range effort went wide after Bennett had gifted possession to Smith in the midfield area. Bennett made amends when he drilled a 20-yarder just over Marriott's bar after Redfearn had set him up to shoot. Boston came within a whisker of equalising in the 39th minute when Douglas' shot-on-the-turn went marginally over from 20 yards. Boston opened the second half well and Angel's header from Weatherstone's cross was blocked by Futcher's gangly legs. Marriott then did well to gather Weatherstone's left-foot shot after Douglas had held off Morgan to set up United's midfield man. But Marriott was powerless to stop Boston equalising on 56 minutes when LOGAN glanced home a near-post header from Redfearn's corner. Douglas' 18-yard shot went wide following Weatherstone's through ball after Boston had broken up a Lincoln attack to break away. Lincoln substitute Simon Yeo's shot from inside the box went just over after he had skipped past McCarthy to fire goalwards. Watts then headed over from Bimson's corner on 71 minutes and moments later, Bimson's low free-kick was gathered on the line by Bastock after taking a deflection off Futcher. Boston lost the services of Douglas on 73 minutes after an accidental collision with Morgan. He was replaced by ex-Lincoln striker Tony Battersby whose entrance onto the pitch was greeted by a chorus of boos from home fans. In fact it was Battersby who had the game's last real chance when Marriott held his low shot before both sides settled for a share of the points.
United team: (4-4-2): 1. Bastock, 2. Costello, 3. Hocking, 4. McCarthy, 5. Chapman 6. S Weatherstone, 7. Higgins (Bennett 20), 8. Redfearn, 9. Angel (Greaves 90), 10. Logan, 11. Douglas (Battersby 73). Subs (not used): L Thompson, Conroy (gk).