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Grimsby Town 1-0 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

Steve Evans must have knocked over a salt cellar, broken a mirror and walked under a ladder whilst a black cat crossed his path this morning as everything that could go wrong in this match did. The first thing that went wrong was his team selection. He chose to keep outstanding defenders Alan White and Paul Ellender out in the cold, neither even making the substitutes' bench. This left him without any recognised defenders to use if there were any problems with his starting line-up, so it was no surprise when Mark Greaves and Austin McCann both picked up knocks as the game progressed and had to be replaced with midfielders, forcing a reorganisation as players took on unaccustomed roles. The next thing that went wrong was that his strikers couldn't seem to find the target despite getting many opportunites to demonstrate their goalscoring abilities. The bad luck continued with a handball claim being turned down, resulting in an understandable reaction from the Boston manager that involved the utterance of a few choice words, but which led to the amazing sight of his ejection from the ground by the police for using foul and abusive language. To rub it in, Grimsby won the match with a deflected shot in their first effort on goal, late on in the game. Boston dominated the early periods. A corner found Peter Till unmarked on the edge of the box, but he fired wide. Then a long range effort by Jamie Clarke had to be tipped wide by Grimsby's keeper Steve Mildenhall. James Keene - playing his last game for United before joining Swedish Premier Division side GAIS - then drove the ball wide after advancing into the box. The first of Boston's injuries happened on the half hour when Stewart Talbot limped off with a sprained ankle. Simon Rusk took his place and soon saw his free header go the wrong side of the post. Just before half time Grimsby had their first real chance, but Junior Mendes couldn't get his shot on target.

Mark Greaves became another casualty at half-time. His back injury flared up again and Asa Hall had to take his place for the second half. This meant a reorgansiation of the side, so Rusk dropped back to defence. The moment of controversy arrived in the 55th minute when Mildenhall appeared to handle the ball outside his area as he came out to intercept a run at goal by Keene. The Boston manager was ejected from the ground and spent the rest of the match sitting on the team coach outside. Boston continued to dominate. Two shots by Hall were kept out, then Chris Holland should have slotted home after being picked out by Clarke, but he fired over from 12 yards out. The miss proved costly as Grimsby got their match winner in the 71st minute when Michael REDDY forced the ball into the net via a huge deflection off Lee Canoville. Austin McCann joined the injured list five minutes later after succumbing to a tackle by Gary Cohen. Danny Thomas joined the fray in his place, with the side having to reshuffle - Clarke now moving back to play a defensive role. Julian Joachim had two good chances near the end to level the scores, but it wasn't going to be Boston's day as the undeserved win took Grimsby to the top of the table. After the match Steve Evans said: "I appealled for the decision, the steward and the police officer came and asked me then to go beside and talk to them and then asked me to leave the ground. Apparently there is a police officer who told them that I am foul and abusing up and down the country every week. That's factually wrong". Perhaps he should have stuck with an incomprehensible Glaswegian reaction! "Helpmaboab! Yerheedsfullamincelino. Amfairscunnert! Watchooterrapolis"

United team: Conrad Logan, Lee Canoville, Gary Silk, Austin McCann (Danny Thomas 78), Chris Holland, Mark Greaves (Asa Hall 46), Jamie Clarke, Stewart Talbot (Simon Rusk 28), Peter Till, Julian Joachim, James Keene. Subs not used: Bradley Maylett, Lawrie Dudfield.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox 2006.