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Pilgrims 2-2 Bury

Coca Cola League

Despite the availability of team captain Paul Ellender, manager Steve Evans decided to stick with the same starting line-up that had won at Wycombe, so loan-signing Emanuele Gabrieli retained his place at the expense of last season's Player of the Year. Boston made the perfect start going two goals ahead inside the first thirteen minutes. The opening goal was scored by Andy Kirk - returning from his midweek international duties - he notched up his twentieth goal of the season after just nine minutes. A cross from Danny Thomas was nodded on by Jason Lee to KIRK who turned and fired home from ten yards out. Four minutes later Boston had doubled their lead when Jason Lee again set up the goal, this time crossing from the left to pick out Simon RUSK who made no mistake with his shot. After David Noble came close to adding a third goal with a long range effort that required a good save by Andy Marriot in the Bury goal, Boston began to relax. Bury now began creating chances. Nathan Abbey had to deflect a header by Lee Unsworth round the post. Then a cross by Tom Kennedy grazed Bas Savage's head before passing just out of the reach of the incoming Jon Newby. In the 35th minute Bas Savage - making his debut for Bury after signing on-loan from Reading - was fouled by Gabrieli and the referee awarded a penalty and booked the Italian centre-half. Tom KENNEDY took the spot kick, hitting it to the left. Nathan Abbey came close to keeping it out and was then booked by the referee for punting the ball out of the ground in frustration after nearly making the save. Just before half time Boston had a penalty appeal of their own turned down after John Fitzgerald appeared to handle the ball.

Shortly after the start of the second half Austin McCann picked up his fifth booking of the season, after failing to return the ball to a Bury player after they were awarded a throw-in. The booking means that McCann will miss next weekend's match at Bristol Rovers. Bury came close to equalising when Gary Harkins headed a free kick by David Flitcroft just over the bar. On 51 minutes Bury did level the scores. Lee Beevers was robbed of the ball by Bas Savage who set Jon NEWBY away to slot the ball past Abbey. John Fitzgerald then had to make a great goal-line clearance after Gabrieli's header sped goalwards. Then a long range lob by Beevers bounced off the crossbar and the follow-up by Danny Thomas was once again cleared off the goal-line by Fitzgerald. With twenty minutes to go Lee Thompson was brought on for Stephen O'Donnell and a few minutes later Courtney Pitt replaced Danny Thomas. Five minutes from time a good run by Thompson ended with a shot by Jason Lee that was just wide of the post. David Staff came on for Andy Kirk and he almost snatched a winner with a good volley after being picked out by a long throw-in by Beevers. After the match Steve Evans commented: "Unfortunately young Beevers has done what he's done too many times this season and I think he's the first to know that he's cost us a couple of points. Andy Kirk was poor today, let's no mince our words, I say it as it is, Kirky looked a little bit jaded, a little bit tired, we took him off because we were thinking of that. They know that their performances were not good enough for this football club."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Emanuele Gabrieli, Simon Rusk, Stephen O'Donnell (Lee Thompson 70), David Noble, Chris Holland, Andy Kirk (David Staff 88), Jason Lee, Danny Thomas (Courtney Pitt 76). Subs not used: Paul Ellender, Steven Boyack.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2005.