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Grimsby Town 1-1 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

Whether it's an indication of how far Boston United have risen or how far Grimsby have fallen in recent seasons, apart from a few Lincs Senior Cup games, this was the first time that the first teams of these two Lincolnshire sides had met in a competitive fixture. Indeed, Boston United's very first game back in August 1933 had been against Grimsby Town's reserve side, and barring the luck of the FA Cup draw, the reserve team from Grimsby was the best that Boston could hope to meet. With Paul Ellender still suspended for misdemeanours from last season, Steve Evans stuck with the same side that had been successful in the opening day fixture against Oxford. Paul Gascoigne was still not fully recovered from his perforated ulcer, but he did manage to make an appearance, if only to observe from the stand. Boston had the first scoring chance when David Noble saw his long range volley go wide.

The early pressure paid off for Boston when Steve MELTON headed home from a long throw from Lee Beevers after eight minutes. The goal gave Grimsby a wake-up call and Nathan Abbey had to be in top form to deny them an equaliser. Terry Fleming and Darren Mansaram both saw their efforts go close. Greg Strong then had to block a shot from Ashley Sestanovich. The second half began with a good save by Grimsby keeper Anthony Williams to deny Martin Carruthers. On the hour Abbey was called into action, first making a superb save from Sestanovich, then stopping an effort by Thomas Pinault. On 70 minutes Grimsby brought on Michael REDDY and with his first touch he brought out a great block from Abbey and he then followed up the rebound to stab home to level the scores.

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Greg Strong, Mark Greaves, Gareth Jelleyman, Tom Bennett, David Noble (Chris Holland 84), Steve Melton, Martin Carruthers (Lee Thompson 75), Jason Lee (Courtney Pitt 78). Subs not used: Paul Bastock, Simon Rusk.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2004.