Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 Boston United
LDV Vans Trophy
by Barbara Singleton
Boston United slipped off the LDV Vans Trophy trail at the hands of high-riding Second Division outfit Brighton. But it took two silver goals in extra time to settle the issue in favour of the south coast side on a night when the Pilgrims can take credit from a purposeful display, not least considering they were without several key players for a variety of reasons. The tie had, in fact, opened with Boston - who included Paul Ellender as an attacking partner for Peter Duffield - showing plenty of appetite for the challenge. And in only the fifth minute Neil Redfearn almost broke the deadlock when he saw a 20-yard snapshot tipped over the bar by home keeper Ben Roberts after Ellender had flicked on a forward pass from Lee Beevers. Five minutes later more United pressure saw a Redfearn cross dropped by Roberts but Simon Weatherstone and Duffield both missed out on opportunities to find the net. In reply, Brighton had an initial close call for Leon Knight while in the 13th minute a timely block by Beevers prevented Nathan Jones from forcing the ball over the line. But Brighton went ahead on 23 minutes when Richard CARPENTER seized on a poor clearance by Ryan Clarke and fired past Paul Bastock via a sizeable deflection off Matt Hocking. After this breakthrough the home side took charge and Carpenter saw a shot parried by Bastock before being cleared by Hocking. Another slice of misfortune almost befell Boston seven minutes before the interval when Chris McPhee closed down an attempted clearance by Bastock who then recovered well to tip the strikers resultant effort away to safety when a second goal looked likely.
At the start of the second half United introduced Ben Chapman who promptly got himself booked for a foul on Gary Hart as his first telling contribution! Initially there was no real suggestion of a Boston fightback as Brighton continued in the ascendancy. But in the 57th minute another Redfearn snapshot proved too hot for Roberts to hold, although the home keeper then did well and regained his ground sufficiently to deny Duffield. In reply McPhee got in a shot which tested Bastock while instantly at the other end Redfearn was again out of luck with his long-range shooting when a 25-yard shot caught Roberts unawares and bounced away off a home post. Back at the other end, home substitute Danny Marney almost made an instant impression when his 68th minute drive was gathered by Bastock. Boston battled hard to try and find a way back, but it was Brighton who threatened again on 77 minutes when McPhee went close with a shot. However, Uniteds gritty determination paid off in the 81st minute when Roberts dallied too long on a Kerry Mayo back-pass and allowed Ellender to intervene and force the ball across goal for DUFFIELD to gleefully squeeze home. Four minutes from time Brighton almost settled it but missed out through McPhee when a good chance materialised. Then in the dying throes of normal time Redfearn again saw two more shots from distance fly off target. And so to extra time and the Pilgrims could scarcely have made a worse start when conceding a goal three minutes into the additional period. McPHEE netted with a low shot from 15 yards which agonisingly trickled over the Boston line after bouncing off a post following John Piercys cut-back. And then in the 105th minute McPHEE fired in from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Lee Beevers to put the issue beyond all doubt and avoid the necessity of a second bout of 15 minutes extra time.
United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Hogg (Chapman 46), Hocking, Greaves (Sutch 75), Beevers; Thompson, Clarke (Potter 60), Redfearn, Weatherstone; Duffield, Ellender. Subs (not used): Douglas, Croudson (gk).