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Lincoln City 2-2 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

In the run up to this game Boston's manager Steve Evans declared "sometimes we do talk rubbish, I've done it and so have others". He later suggested that former Scottish Premier League striker Andy Kirk would be the key player in this Lincolnshire derby game as he had passed a fitness test and was ready to make his debut for Boston. As it turned out, his inital statement was the one that rang true as Kirk never made in on to the teamsheet. The starting line-up was the same as that which had been so successful against Luton Town in Tuesday night's Carling Cup battle. The only changes were on the subs' bench, where Paul Gascoigne and Zema Abbey came in for Paul Bastock and Martin Carruthers. The game began with neither side creating much in the way of clear goalscoring chances. The best effort was probably a long range shot from Tam McManus that went over the bar. The game came alive on 32 minutes when Francis Green threaded a pass through to Jamie MCCOMBE, who took advantage of a stumble by Austin McCann to fire home after running into the box from the edge of the area. Lincoln now threatened to over-run the Boston defence, winning a series of corners, but the half ended with no further score. Lincoln continued pressing at the start of the second half.

Matthew Bloomer fired in a shot that required a save from Nathan Abbey, then Francis Green steered a header just wide of the post. Just before the hour the Lincoln pressure paid off when GREEN scored from close range after being picked out by a header from McCombe. Lincoln now looked to be coasting towards an easy home win, even after Boston brought on all their allowed substitutes. First Paul Gascoigne came on for Tom Bennett, then Lee Thompson and Zema Abbey replaced Simon Rusk and Tam McManus respectively. But there's one thing that Steve Evans seems to be able to instill in his teams and that is to keep fighting to the end. This approach paid dividends. First, seven minutes from time, Boston won a penalty after a Lincoln defender handled the ball. Courtney PITT stepped up and slammed the spot kick into the bottom right hand corner. Then five minutes later Boston won a free kick out on the left. Paul Gascoigne fired it in to the area and Jason LEE rose high to meet the ball and glance home a header past Alan Marriott for an unlikely equaliser. The late escape sent the Boston fans home feeling like their side had won rather than merely shared the spoils.

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Mark Greaves, Paul Ellender, Simon Rusk (Lee Thompson 65), Tom Bennett (Paul Gascoigne 62), Chris Holland, Tam McManus (Zema Abbey 65), Jason Lee, Courtney Pitt. Subs not used: Greg Strong, Danny Thomas.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2004.