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Northampton Town 2-1 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

Boston United's poor away form continued as they lost on their travels yet again. Manager Steve Evans firmly put the blame for his side's defeat on decisions by the match officials. He said: "I'm not going to talk about the match referee. I'm going to learn from what somebody told me which I cannot get in trouble for. Let me say he was magnificent today. Today's officials were magnificent and we didn't get any help." Boston's starting line-up contained one change from that which had beaten Rushden & Diamonds on Wednesday night - Simon Rusk coming in for Matt O'Halloran in midfield. Northampton dominated the early play. Former Boston striker Eric Sabin was proving a handful for the Pilgrims' defence. On 10 minutes he beat the offside trap and drove in a shot that was well saved by Nathan Abbey. The balance of play now drifted towards Boston. Andy Kirk's long-range effort was only just wide of the post. Then a shot by Danny Thomas was deflected off-target for a corner. When Thomas was fouled just outside the area, he picked himself up and fired the resulting free-kick over the crossbar. At the other end, Lee Beevers had to make a goal-line clearance following a free-kick for a foul on Sabin. Just before half-time Northampton keeper Lee Harper had to be alert to save a flicked header from Jason Lee. Boston began the second half strongly although it was Sabin who produced the first effort of note when his shot was deflected off Beevers for a corner.

A shot on the turn by Rusk was just wide. Then there was the moment of controversy, alluded to by Steve Evans in his post match interview, when Rusk fell to the ground in the area after a challenge by Martin Smith, but the referee ignored Boston's penalty claims. Northampton took the lead on 72 minutes when SMITH found the net after the Boston defence failed to clear the ball following a corner. Two minutes later Boston equalised when top scorer Andy KIRK increased his tally with a well taken goal when he lobbed the ball over Harper after a mistake by Fred Murray gave him his chance. In their next attack Kirk almost gave Boston the lead with a long range shot that hit the crossbar. Then a good move by Dean West and Jason Lee ended with Danny Thomas just missing the target. Five minutes from time Northampton got what proved to be the winning goal. Lee Beevers was dispossessed of the ball as he came out of defence. This let Joshua Low break down the right wing from where he picked out an unmarked Scott MCGLEISH with his centre who slotted the ball home. After the match Steve Evans commented: "We've played well and got nothing. Northampton will claim a great result, but we will be above them at the end of the season."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Dean West (Daryl Clare 89), Paul Ellender, Mark Greaves, Simon Rusk (Lee Thompson 82), Chris Holland, Andy Kirk, Jason Lee, Danny Thomas. Subs not used: Tam McManus, Steve Melton, Courtney Pitt.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2004.