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Chester City 2-1 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

With their squad depleted by their end-of-season sale and long-term injuries Boston United had a further selection problem going into this game. Daryl Clare - who had been signed from Chester back in November had a clause in his contract that barred him from playing against his old club. This meant that once again 38 year old assistant manager Paul Raynor made up the numbers on the substitutes' bench - although one suspects that it would take an amazing series of unlikely events for him to actually end up on the pitch! Boston began well on the chilly spring afternoon. Right at the start Simon Rusk had a crack at goal with a long range effort that was just too high. Boston took the lead after nine minutes. Chris Holland released Brad Maylett on the right wing, whose cross found David NOBLE who beat the keeper with a well placed shot. For a while it looked like Boston would have an easy away win against a poor Chester side. Brad Maylett headed a cross from Chris Holland over the bar and Jermaine Easter fired wide after being found with a defence splitting pass by Courtney Pitt. But it was Chester who scored the next goal, equalising just before half-time. A mistake by Alan White put Robbie BOOTH into a one on one situation against Nathan Abbey and the Chester man slid the ball past the Boston keeper.

At half-time David Noble had to come off after his recurring groin injury flared up. Stephen O'Donnell came on in his place. Jason Lee soon had the ball in the net, but his effort was ruled out for offside. Chester took the lead on 77 minutes. Chester won a free kick twenty yards and Ryan LOWE's kick took a deflection off Holland to wrong foot Abbey and sail into the unguarded net. Abbey soon had to produce a series of good saves to prevent Chester increasing their lead. As the minutes ticked down Boston threw everyone forward - including Abbey - in their search for an equaliser, but the last chance came to Maylett and his shot was too high. So Chester's caretaker manager David Bell started his time in charge following Ian Rush's departure with a win to ease any remaining relegation worries. After the match Steve Evans commented: "We know we need to be better if we want to be in that top seven, that's quite a hurdle, we've come a long way, but we need to make the big giant step next year and be part of those playoffs rather than on the fringes which is the best we've been this season."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Brad Maylett, Alan White, Austin McCann, Paul Ellender, Simon Rusk, David Noble (Stephen O'Donnell 46), Chris Holland, Jason Lee, Jermaine Easter (Lee Thompson 57), Courtney Pitt (Danny Thomas 80). Subs not used: Dean West, Paul Raynor.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2005.