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Pilgrims 2-0 Southend United

Coca Cola League

With Jason Lee out with a minor injury, manager Steve Evans made an inspired selection, by putting defender Greg Strong up front alongside Andy Kirk and Daryl Clare. Strong had just returned from a loan-spell with Macclesfield Town after falling out of favour at Boston and being placed on the transfer list. He hadn't played a game for the Pilgrims since turning out in the LDV Vans Trophy loss against Cambridge United back in September. Evans however remembered seeing him play as a forward in a match for Hull City reserves, so he decided to give him another chance in a new role. Strong made the most of the opportunity, being at the heart of many of Boston's attacking moves. When Jason Lee regains full fitness he will have a battle on his hands to win back his place in the side. Boston started well. They soon had a penalty appeal turned down when Kevin James fell to the ground after being challenged by Che Wilson. Five minutes later Southend keeper Bart Griemink got well behind a powerful shot from Daryl Clare, who had been picked out with a great through ball from Strong. Southend then came close when a cross from Lewis Hunt was sliced just past his own post by Lee Beevers. A minute later a Danny Thomas free kick was headed just over by Andy Kirk. Nine minutes before half time Kirk and Clare combined to set up Thomas, but his shot was just wide.

The first chance of the second half was a long range effort by Southend's top scorer Freddy Eastwood that curled just wide of the post. Boston then had a big let off when Nathan Abbey dropped an easy catch following a cross Kevin Maher. The ball dropped into the path of Andy Edwards who somehow ballooned his shot over the bar from two yards out. Boston took the lead on 65 minutes when a James free kick was flicked on by Strong to Andy KIRK who lofted the ball over Griemink. Another blunder by Abbey almost gifted Southend an equaliser when a cross by Che Wilson almost curled into the top corner, but Abbey just managed to scurry back and parry the ball onto the bar. Boston made sure of the win in the 84th minute when KIRK scored his 16th goal of the season by heading home a cross from Danny Thomas. The win took Boston up to seventh place in the table, one point above local rivals Lincoln City. After the match Steve Evans commented: "The players coming in tonight have carried on from where we were on Saturday which was an excellent hard working performance."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Greg Strong, Paul Ellender, Mark Greaves, Kevin James, Chris Holland, Daryl Clare (Lee Thompson 90), Andy Kirk, Danny Thomas. Subs not used: Courtney Pitt, David Noble, Steve Melton, Matt O'Halloran.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2005.