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Rusk and Holland watch Futcher

Wrexham 2-0 Pilgrims

Coca-Cola League

Boston United began their Coca-Cola League Two season with a trip to Wales to play last season's LDV Vans Trophy winners Wrexham. With Jason Lee out suspended and Daryl Clare recovering from an asthma attack, Steve Evans chose to start with new signings Julian Joachim and Noel Whelan up front. Surprisingly there was no sign of captain Paul Ellender or talented midfielder David Noble in either the starting line-up or the subs' bench, so youngsters Rob Norris and Chris Wright were named as substitutes. Boston began the match by putting Wrexham under pressure. Boston won three corners in quick succession but Wrexham keeper Michael Ingram was able to deal with all of them. Wrexham then began to create some chances and won three quick corners of their own. Unlike Boston however, they made their's count when Mark JONES scored a wonder goal by drilling home from 25 yards out after latching on to a header out by Ben Futcher. Neither side produced much in the way of goalscoring opportunities for the rest of the half, the only attempt on target being a header by Jonathan Walters that was easily saved by Nathan Abbey in the Boston goal. For the second half Steve Evans changed team tactics by bringing on Simon Rusk for Gavin Johnson, playing three at the back and using attacking wing-backs. The tactic opened up the game a bit, resulting in good efforts at both ends.

Noel Whelan was picked out by a cross from Bradley Maylett, but the former Leeds striker saw his shot easily saved by Ingram. Then Abbey managed to parry a shot from Lee McEvilly and Ben Futcher made a great last ditch tackle to deny Walters from the rebound. It was now all Wrexham and Boston were lucky to see a lob by Walters bounce clear off the post. Wrexham made sure of an opening day win seven minutes from time when Dean Bennett took the ball the length of the field before crossing to Lee ROCHE to tap home. Boston finished with a flurry, but couldn't open their goalscoring account. A header by Rusk was cleared off the line, then substitute Danny Thomas saw a long range shot saved by Ingram. After the match manager Steve Evans said: "We were sloppy. Two poor goals to lose. We looked a game or two short - our pre-season preparations were interrupted. We need to get back to the training ground and get ready for Wednesday. We will do OK this season." Losing their opening match isn't always a bad thing. The last time Boston United lost on the first day of the season was back in 2001 when Margate beat them 1-0 at York Street. They went on to win the Conference title and gain promotion to the Football League.

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Canoville, Austin McCann (Danny Thomas 67), Ben Futcher, Mark Greaves, Gavin Johnson (Simon Rusk 46), Stewart Talbot, Brad Maylett, Chris Holland, Julian Joachim, Noel Whelan (Rob Norris 78). Sub not used: Alan White, Chris Wright.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox 2005. Photograph copyright © Pat Everitt 2005.