Pilgrims 1-0 Leigh RMI
With all the rain on Friday it was always going to be touch and go as to whether this match would take place. Given the result I am sure that all the Boston supporters in the large Bank Holiday crowd are glad that it did go ahead. Not only did they see a good Boston win but they also got to see an exciting new prospect in action. Simon Bailey started his first game for the first team following his prolific goalscoring in the reserves. He is an enthusiatic player who is quick off the mark, not frightened to have a go at goal and he caused quite a few problems for one of the best defences in the Unibond League. With Leigh Taylor and Neil Featherstone also showing promise, the club's investment in their youth programme looks like paying early dividends.
In the first half Leigh packed the defence, relying on the long ball down the middle to try and create goalscoring chances. These tactics nearly had an early success when Paul Bastock made the mistake of kicking a backpass straight to Leigh's No. 9, Dave Ridings, but he made up for it by making a great save to deny the forward an opening goal. At the other end, Greg Fee soon saw a long range shot go just wide and Steve Appleby shot just over after good work by Chris Cook. Steve Charles then had a penalty appeal turned down after sliding to the ground as he ran into the area. Leigh had a good chance on the break but it was wasted by shooting across the face of the goal. Towards the end of the half Simon Bailey went close with a shot which was deflected for a corner.
The second half started where the first half left off, with lots of Boston pressure and lots of defensive work and timewasting tactics by Leigh.
Andrew Stanhope shot just wide, then Leigh's No. 8, Martin Jones was booked for a tackle on Steve Charles. Chris Cook received the ball from the resulting free kick and forced a good save from Dave Felgate in the Leigh goal after turning and shooting from the edge of the area.
Boston finally broke through on sixty-five minutes. It wasn't a pretty goal but they all count. A Joby Gowshall cross resulted in a goalmouth scramble with Chris Cook and Simon Bailey both having shots cleared before Steve Appleby finally bundled the ball over the goal-line at the far post. Leigh then started to look more like the side that their league position indicates. They made use of all three of their substitutes and pushed more players forward in an attempt to find the equaliser. They came close on a number of occasions. Most notably they had a goal ruled out by the linesman's flag and in the dying seconds Brady hit a long range shot that went just the wrong side of the right upright. Just before the end Greg Fee got booked for arguing with the linesman over a disputed corner and had to be physically restrained by both Steve Charles and Martin Filson or it could have become even more serious.
The win keeps up the pressure on Barrow and also consolidates second place, which could still prove to be decisive if Barrow's application for promotion should fail. With Barrow, Runcorn and Emley all winning there is still everything to play for in the remaining games.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Filson, 6. Steve Charles, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Chris Cook, 10. Simon Bailey, 11. Len Curtis, 12. Danny Marshall, 14. Paul Cavell, 15. Chris Aiken.