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Pilgrims 2-1 Morecambe

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

New signing Phil Gray won't want to remember his first appearance for Boston United. The 33-year-old striker was controversially sent off 50 minutes into his Pilgrims' debut for a second bookable offence after tussling with Morecambe substitute Lee Colkin. The front man earned a second yellow card - having earlier been booked for dissent - after appearing to raise an arm to free himself as Colkin tugged his shirt. Referee Michael Ives deemed the supposed tangle, which left the Morecambe player clutching his head, worthy of a booking rather than the regulation straight red for violent conduct. And even though seeing his team clinch an important Conference victory, United boss Steve Evans was unimpressed with the man in black. He said: "The standard of officials is this season leaving a lot to be desired. And in all honesty this display was one of the worst we have seen at York Street. How he came to that decision is a mystery. It should have been a penalty to us." But even allowing for that controversial incident, Boston were still good value for their success - a result which keeps them in third position in the table, one point behind Margate and six adrift of Dagenham and Redbridge. First half goals from Daryl Clare and David Town gave United a deserved lead.

Morecambe responded with a 77th minute goal through Robbie Talbot but were unable to force an equaliser from their numerical advantage. After a tame opening 15 minutes, the match suddenly triggered into life when a Simon Weatherstone header from a Mark Angel corner was parried away to safety off a post by ex-Lincoln City keeper Craig Mawson. In the 23rd minute, Boston went ahead when CLARE seized possession 20 yards out on the right, cut inside and whipped an angled left-footed cross-shot beyond the reach of Mawson. Boston doubled their lead in the 29th minute when TOWN rifled into the net after a Simon Weatherstone pile-driver had been blocked following an initial surging run by James Gould. Further untaken chances then materialised in quick succession with off-target finishes by Clare and Gray. After the latter's 50th minute exit, Morecambe tried to cash in on their one-man advantage and Andrew Gouck saw a swerving 20-yard smack back off the home bar. Boston reshuffled their resources and kept the visitors at bay until 13 minutes from time when TALBOT cashed in on a slip by Ross Weatherstone and shot past Bastock after Garry Thompson had fired the ball into the home box. Later on Talbot got in behind the home defence again, but Bastock saved well. And that was as close as Morecambe got to drawing level.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould, 4. R. Weatherstone, 5. Monington, 6. Ellender, 7. Town (Murphy 70, Rusk 89), 8. Gray, 9. Clare, 10. S. Weatherstone, 11. Angel (Cook 88). Subs (not used): Lodge, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.