Kingstonian 0-0 Pilgrims
by Barbara Singleton
No goals, but there was a fair degree of drama as Boston United pocketed a useful Conference point. Arguably it might have been three, but for waved-aside penalty claims in the opening moments and then again in the dying seconds when first Jim Dick seemed to be felled and then striker Ken Charlery appeared to have been grappled to the ground by Mark Harris. They were contentious moments - ones which manager Steve Evans felt deprived his team of their first win in six matches. He said: "The first appeal looked clearcut and virtually everyone in the ground saw the second one except the referee. It was a cast-iron call for a penalty. But we just didn't get the decision in either instance. And that was hugely disappointing." However, a share of the spoils still enabled the Pilgrims to safeguard their mid-table position with a hardworking performance, the result all the more creditable after the 65th-minute dismissal of midfielder Dick. He was sent off for apparently lashing out at Kingstonian's Geoff Pitcher - a second yellow card offence - after the pair had tangled in midfield. And in his absence, United had to graft solidly to collect a reward - their main hero on the day being goalkeeper Paul Bastock, who made a string of excellent saves to keep a well-merited clean sheet on his 450th competitive appearance for the Pilgrims.
In the opening seconds, the Boston keeper was well positioned to clutch a drive by Sammy Winston. Later in the half he also blocked another Winston effort, while more home pressure yielded wayward finishes from Mark Beard and Ian Duerden. It wasn't a particularly sparkling first 45 minutes, but Boston had a clutch of good chances. In the eighth minute, Andrew Stanhope almost marked his 200th United appearance with a goal, but just missed out on connecting with a Paul Raynor cross. Then a Paul Wilson free-kick was parried by Adrian Blake before Joby Gowshall fired the rebound too high. Later on, a 20-yard volley by Wilson dropped over Blake's bar and in the 44th minute Charlery drilled just wide after a pass by Raynor. Early in the second half, Bastock again had to show his agility when producing a great tip-over save from Phil Wingfield and then making another fine stop to thwart a clean-through Winston in the 54th minute. Then in the 70th minute another Winston effort again tested the United keeper's skills. And in the final minutes the Pilgrims defended well to frustrate a succession of corners. Boston, though, also had their moments of ascendancy - either side of Dick's dismissal - with a Paul Fewings shot being held by Blake while Raynor and Charlery also went close prior to the latter having his late spot-kick claims ignored by referee Francis Graham.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Gowshall, 3. Lucas, 4. Hoyle, 5. Howarth, 6. Wilson, 7. Stanhope (French 58), 8. Charlery (Rawle 90), 9. Raynor, 10. Fewings, 11. Dick. Subs (not used): Nuttell, Curtis, Martin (gk).
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.