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Macclesfield Town 0-0 Pilgrims

Nationwide League

by Barbara Singleton

The opening day of the season saw Boston United produce an excellent performance which arguably merited more rewards than the solitary point netted. For long spells on a scorching hot day the Pilgrims had their hosts on the back foot and carved out at least half-a-dozen good chances. But misfortune in front of goal, including one effort from Peter Duffield which seemed to bounce down and over the line off the underside of the bar, ensured that the home side held on for what was perhaps a fortunate point from their perspective. Boston, who also had a trio of penalty appeals turned down, can reflect positively on a solid all-round display in which defenders Mark Greaves and Matt Hocking excelled while midfielder Tom Bennett and the aforementioned Duffield also caught the eye. United exerted most of the early pressure with Graham Potter curling a 25-yard free-kick inches wide of Boaz Myhill’s far post inside the opening seconds. Later on, Paul Ellender went charging through, prodded the ball past Myhill but saw no decision in his favour when the keeper appeared to deliver a trip. Macclesfield only had two real chances in the first half and they both arrived in the fifth minute. John Miles saw an 18-yarder beaten out by Paul Bastock and the same player then drilled just over following rare hesitancy in the Boston rearguard. In the 17th minute, Boston wasted a great chance when Potter fired over the bar following neat interchange play with Duffield.

Stuart Douglas then seized upon more hesitancy, faced Myhill, but lost his footing at the crucial stage and the chance was lost. Macclesfield briefly had a phase of pressure without penetrating Boston’s penalty area. But back at the other end Douglas again went close but after a marauding run he fired agonisingly wide across the face of Myhill’s goal. And then home defender Karl Munroe appeared to handle when sliding in to challenge Duffield. But again no penalty was awarded. At the beginning of the second half, Myhill did well to block a rising Ellender effort before getting back onto his feet to claim Potter’s rebound shot. Boston made a substitution in the 62nd minute when Richard Logan replaced the tiring Douglas although the sub’s first contribution was losing possession to Colin Little. He fed Martin Carruthers, but he in turn shot wide and the danger passed. Boston were then denied a goal when Duffield’s screaming 25-yarder cannoned down off the underside of the bar, with Myhill beaten. But again, the match officials ruled in favour of the home side. Boston went close again in the 83rd minute when Potter rifled a 25-yard shot just wide following Duffield’s run and pass. Then Bennett and Logan also fired off target when other opportunities arose. It wasn’t until the final few moments that Macclesfield really showed any attacking initiative. Little headed marginally over from Adams’ cross and in stoppage time Welch’s deflected free-kick was gathered by Bastock. As Adams challenged recklessly, Bastock reacted and both players were booked in an unsavoury end to an otherwise well-contested match.

United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Sutch, Greaves, Hocking, Chapman (Redfearn 78); Rusk, Bennett, Ellender, Potter; Duffield (Jones 88), Douglas (Logan 62). Subs (not used): Balmer, Croudson (gk).

Match report copyright © Barbara Singleton, 2003.