Radcliffe Borough 1-1 Pilgrims
I nearly missed the start of this match because I trusted the directions in the Non-League Club Directory which said that the ground was half a mile from the station. In reality it is a brisk twenty minute walk of just over a mile. It was just as well that I did manage to get through the turnstiles as the match started as United went into an early lead. On six minutes Richard Mason beat his marker and scampered down the left wing. He put in a long cross to Andrew Stanhope on the far side of the penalty area, who slotted the ball back across the area to Leroy CHAMBERS to hit the ball into the back of the net from close range. Chambers could easily have had a couple of more goals in the first half-hour. After twenty-one minutes he headed just wide and nine minutes later he had another header cleared off the line after Mason had managed to rescue a cross that looked as if it was going behind and knock it back into the goalmouth. Radcliffe equalised just before half-time with a disputed goal. In a rare Radcliffe attack that wasn't offside, Paul Bastock pulled off a brilliant save. Unfortunately the ball then came out to Radcliffe's Levi EDWARDS whose shot was cleared by Chris Withe but the referee decided it had already crossed the line. In the second half United were playing up the slope and found the going a bit tougher. Paul Bastock had to make a couple of good saves either side of another golden chance for Chambers.
This time Andrew Stanhope crossed to Paul Cavell who knocked the ball back towards Chambers who shot wide. Danny Marshall came on for Andrew Stanhope for the last fifteen minutes and put in a good performance. However, I thought it would have been more interesting if Hardy had been replaced as he was beginning to tire by this stage of the game and had made a couple of poor challenges. Richard Mason continued to torment his marker and fire in crosses that won corners. Steve Charles saw one of his long range shots bobble just wide and Joby Gowshall also had a good crack at goal which was only just too high. United really had to win this match if they wanted keep alive their hopes of getting promoted. With wins for both Barrow and Winsford it is looking even more likely that this will be another season of "nearly but not quite good enough". On the balance of play United should have won quite comfortably, but a bit of bad luck and a lack of killer instinct denied them. Steve Chambers was still not considered quite fit enough for a full first team match. Perhaps when he returns it might just be enough to help turn draws into wins and rekindle our promotion hopes.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Charles, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Paul Cavell, 10. Leroy Chambers, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Chris Cook, 14. Paul Watts, 15. Danny Marshall.