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Pilgrims 0-1 Leigh RMI

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Colin Hoyle's unfortunate second half own goal condemned Boston United to their fourth home Conference defeat of the season. The Pilgrims' defender inadvertently got in the path of a Tony Black cross-shot in the 67th minute and diverted it beyond custodian Paul Bastock, who made a valiant - but vain - attempt to prevent the ball crossing the line. It was an untidy way to settle an encounter which, from a Boston point of view, started at a crawl, showed little first half sparkle but then which burst to life in the second period. And up until Leigh's fortuitous breakthrough, it seemed as if United would be the more likely winners. Manager Steve Evans said: "It was certainly disappointing to lose. But after a poor first half, I felt we picked it up well after the break and dominated the second period. Their keeper David Felgate had to make a number of saves. But arguably we should have converted one or two of the chances we created. We wanted to bounce back after the defeat at Tiverton. And I think supporters realised that the team did everything possible after half-time. But there won't be any daft reactions after this result. We will continue our search for new players and strive hard for a finishing spot in the top eight." The overall outcome was arguably tough on the Pilgrims, but their opening half display certainly didn't help their cause - home followers having to wait until the 44th minute to see United's first strike at goal.

That effort came from the boot of Andy Lodge from a 20-yard free-kick. But even that flew too high to trouble Felgate. Elsewhere, Boston's only other real thrust stemmed from visiting defender Neil Durkin slicing wildly over his own bar when pressured jointly by Ken Charlery and Mark Rawle. In response, Leigh looked more the positive outfit with five reasonable chances to have scored. Early on Ian Monk fluffed his lines from 25 yards when a scuffed clearance by Bastock presented him with a gaping net. Later on shots in quick succession by Steve Jones and Monk again brought excellent saves from the United keeper. Towards half-time a Black drive was blocked by Hoyle and then David Ridings fired wide from 18 yards. At the start of the second half, Micky Nuttell replaced the injured Charlery and the Pilgrims sprang to life with a Rawle shot tipped away by Felgate. Next, a curling 20-yard free-kick by Jim Dick was safely gathered by the Leigh keeper and then a low drive after a surging run by Peter Costello was deflected for a corner. Lee Howarth headed off target from a Mark Clifford corner and then Felgate denied both Rawle and Costello. The latter was also close with a reaction header after a scramble in the danger area. But all these thrusts were to no avail as, in the 67th minute, Leigh staged a smash and grab act - Black's shot from the right being diverted in off the unlucky HOYLE. The visiting striker also tested Bastock in the 89th minute, but by that time United were pressing in vain to try and salvage a point.

United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Gowshall, 3. Lodge, 4. Hoyle, 5. Howarth, 6. Costello, 7. Clifford, 8. Charlery (Nuttell 46), 9. Raynor, 10. Rawle, 11. Dick. Subs (not used): Elding, Lucas, J Harris, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.