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Abbey clears

Pilgrims 1-1 Grimsby Town

Coca Cola League

With top goalscorer Andy Kirk departing for Northampton Town, Daryl Clare was given an opportunity to impress against his former club after recovering from an injury that had kept him out of action for the last month. With Jason Lee also missing - out suspended for two matches after accumulating ten bookings, Boston's striking options were limited. Manager Steve Evans therefore decided to start with winger Courtney Pitt as Clare's strike partner. Clare had a dream start, finding the net just 20 seconds after kick-off. Danny Thomas crossed the ball from the left wing to CLARE who turned and shot into the bottom left corner. Stunned by the early setback it took Grimsby twelve minutes before they could muster an effort of their own. Matt Harrold - on loan from Brentford - lobbed the ball goalwards and Nathan Abbey had to make a good save to tip the ball away from the target. Grimsby then began to gain more possession, but without creating any chances of note. A long range effort by Martin Gritton was easily saved by Abbey. Then just before half time Andy Parkinson volleyed over the crossbar. It wasn't until two minutes into the second half that the game saw its first corner - won by Boston. The home side almost profitted, but Anthony Williams was able to save Clare's shot after it was deflected off Terrell Forbes. Play switched to the other end as the Mariners won a free kick following a foul by Paul Ellender.

But although Ronnie Bull's free kick found its way through to Thomas Pinault, the Grimsby man fired his shot right over the roof of the Town End stand. Grimsby defender Terry Fleming was lucky to stay on the pitch after twice upending Danny Thomas within the space of a few minutes, but he only received a booking for the first offence. Ronnie Bull also saw his name go into the referee's book after a two footed challenge on Simon Rusk that could have easily ended in a sending off by a less lenient official. Grimsby equalised in the 69th minute. Pinault knocked the ball to Gritton who crossed to HARROLD who whipped the ball into the net from close range. Both sides had chances to win the game in the closing minutes. Alan White - making his home debut - was able to block a drive by Michael Reddy. Then substitute David Staff - on for the tiring Clare - laid the ball back to David Noble whose shot was deflected for a corner. The match finished with Chris Holland putting a long range shot just over the bar. After the match Steve Evans commented: "If Grimsby had won today it would have been a travesty for Boston United again. They've no deserved to win. They are probably on the fortunate side to get a point."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Dean West, Alan White, Austin McCann, Paul Ellender, Chris Holland, Simon Rusk (Lee Thompson 80), David Noble, Courtney Pitt (Steve Melton 84), Daryl Clare (David Staff 80), Danny Thomas. Subs not used: Dominic Roma, Stephen O'Donnell.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2005. Photograph copyright © Pat Everitt 2005.