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Pilgrims 3-3 Wrexham

Nationwide League

by Barbara Singleton

Even at a stage when Boston United led 3-1 in this match, there was always a nagging worry that promotion-chasing Wrexham might upset the potential party. Unfortunately such concerns proved well-founded with the Welsh outfit battling back for a share of the spoils. But anyone who was there to witness this encounter must surely have acknowledged that that these particular visitors to York Street were a class apart from anything else seen at the venue - in Third Division terms at least - this season. In that context, the Pilgrims can be well satisfied with the point they eventually finished with. Manager Neil Thompson was of the same view. He said: "Wrexham gave us our toughest test of the season without any shadow of a doubt. And we were at our limit to cope. At 3-1 up it was perhaps disappointing not to have gone on and won. But at least the point takes us a little bit further along the road to where we want to be." After a scrappy and disjointed opening phase, it was Wrexham who gradually turned the screw as the first half progressed. And they went ahead in the 12th minute when former Chorley striker Lee TRUNDLE seized possession on the corner of United's box, held off two defenders and sent a curling left-foot shot beyond the reach of Paul Bastock. The visitors then pressed again on the accelerator and might easily have doubled their money with off-target efforts from Carlos Edwards and Brian Carey. It was all Boston could do to hang on. But creditably they did, and the second part of the first half effectively belonged to them. On 18 minutes Neil Redfearn lifted the home tempo with a vicious volley which tested keeper Andy Dibble to the full. Nine minutes later Redfearn was at it again, this time walloping a shot off the underside of the bar for Peter DUFFIELD (on as an early substitute for injury victim Graeme Jones) to follow up and head in his first goal in Boston colours.

Towards half-time Tom Bennett smashed an acute angled drive from wide on the right just across goal and then seconds before the break Redfearn fired a 25-yard free-kick past the Wrexham wall and only inches outside the far post.Four minutes into the second half, drama erupted when Paul Ellender skipped into the Wrexham area and appeared to be tripped by Carey. Referee Phil Prosser - who had a whistle-happy evening throughout in awarding a total of 52 free-kicks - instantly blew and REDFEARN dispatched the resultant spot-kick. Wrexham hit back immediately and Darren Ferguson almost levelled with a brace of terrific free-kicks. His first was met by a great headed clearance from Matt Hocking while his second effort forced a tip-over save from Bastock. Moments later, Carlos Edwards cut in from the right but drilled into the side netting. Remarkably, it was Boston who then added to their tally. A towering clearance from Bastock caught Carey and Dennis Lawrence dithering to combat Richard Logan's chase for possession. Dibble raced out of his box and headed away. But the ball dropped to DUFFIELD and he instantly rolled a shot into an unguarded net on 62 minutes. But inside a minute, the Red Dragons had cut the deficit with CAREY heading in from a well-flighted corner by Ferguson. And that was the signal for more waves of attacking play from the visitors whose free-flowing play would surely have been a joy to watch for any non-Pilgrims connections in the ground. It was really no surprise when Wrexham equalised, TRUNDLE nipping in unmarked to get on the end of a Shaun Holmes cross and stab past Bastock. Boston battled hard to recover some semblance of attacking momentum. But in the final few minutes, it was all Wrexham with Ferguson, Trundle and Scott Green all within a whisker of scoring again. But thanks to some stout United rearguard action and a couple more excellent saves by Bastock, Boston managed to hold on for what might prove to be a priceless point when destiny day beckons.

United team: (4-4-2) 1. Bastock, 2. Greaves, 3. Balmer, 4. Hocking, 5. Chapman, 6. Weatherstone, 7. Redfearn, 8. Bennett, 9. Ellender, 10. Jones (Duffield 18), 11. Logan (Douglas 77). Subs (not used): Costello, Angel, Price (gk).