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Hereford United 2-3 Pilgrims

FA Cup

With Daryl Clare cup-tied, manager Steve Evans had a spot of good luck when striker Andy Kirk made an unexpected early recovery from his hamstring injury and was able to partner Jason Lee up front as Boston United attempted to reach the third round proper for the first time since 1973/4. Influential midfielder David Noble failed a fitness test, so Simon Rusk got a rare start. Hereford, boosted by a 2-1 win against holders Blackpool in the LDV Vans Trophy on Tuesday, took the lead after just eight minutes. Some slack defending by Mark Greaves following a disputed free kick, allowed Tamika MKANDAWIRE to head home Mark Robinson's cross unchallenged. Boston almost got an equaliser on the quarter hour via a Danny Thomas corner, but Ellender's header grazed the crossbar. Simon Rusk then showed why he doesn't often start, when his poor effort was well off target. On the half hour Jason LEE levelled the scores with a powerful header after getting onto the end of a cross from the left wing by Danny Thomas. Before the half ended, both sides had created good goalscoring opportunities. Excellent skill by Dean West and Jason Lee had allowed Chris Holland a shot on goal, but it was well wide of the target. Then as stoppage time approached, Adam Stansfield saw his long range effort blocked by Paul Ellender.

Boston began the second half well. Chris Holland and Danny Thomas both came close to scoring with long range shots. Boston went in front on 70 minutes. Austin McCann's shot was flicked on by Mark Greaves and Andy KIRK reacted quickly to back heel the ball home from close range. Seven minutes later Boston increased their lead. Andy KIRK broke down the right wing, cut inside, and placed the ball into the net past Hereford keeper Craig Mawson. In between Kirk's goals Hereford had almost scored when Nathan Abbey had to make a superb save to deny Lee Mills. Substitute Lee Thompson, on for Kirk for the last ten minutes, should of wrapped up the win when he was put in the clear by Rusk, but in a one-on-one situation he fired his shot straight at the Hereford keeper. Despite their two goal deficit, Hereford didn't give up, and in the 88th minute their efforts were rewarded when Craig STANLEY found the net with a shot from 20 yards out that deflected off Greaves and thus looped beyond the reach of Abbey. It made for a nervous few minutes at the end of the match, but Boston held on to go into Sunday's third round draw. Steve Evans said after the match: "It was a good result for us and more importantly it was a good performance."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Dean West, Paul Ellender, Mark Greaves, Simon Rusk (Matt O'Halloran 90), Chris Holland, Andy Kirk (Lee Thompson 82), Jason Lee, Danny Thomas. Subs not used: Steve Melton, Courtney Pitt, Tam McManus.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2004.