Pilgrims 0-1 Hull City
by Barbara Singleton
Another hugely disappointing result brought more gloom and anxiety for Boston United followers as the season hurtles towards its crescendo. The excitement and expectation of a year ago has now been replaced by a different kind of end-of-season emotion - one of agonising nervousness as the relegation trapdoor back to the Conference shows no sign of closing. And this defeat against a Hull side going absolutely nowhere in the middle of the table was a result all Pilgrims' connections could have done without. As it turned out, a goal 17 minutes from time by Stuart Elliott settled an encounter which produced plenty of creativity at both ends but which, from a Boston point of view, didn't see visiting keeper Alan Fettis tested often enough. The first time he was called to action, in fact, came in the 19th minute when he plunged well on a low cross from Peter Duffield with Richard Logan waiting to pounce. Almost instantly in reply, Hull defender Mark Joseph ventured forward but lashed a wild drive over Paul Bastock's bar. Hull had early failed to capitalise on three corners. But back at the other end, Boston pressurised the visiting rearguard when efforts from Paul Ellender and Tom Bennett went close to breaking the deadlock. And on 32 minutes only a breath-taking save from Fettis prevented Duffield from putting United in front after Ellender had flicked on a pass from Logan to deliver a low cross from the right. Hull hit back and twice inside a minute Damien Delaney drilled shots inches over the home bar.
Boston replied once more with Mark Angel cutting inside from the left and firing low into the clutches of Fettis. But instantly at the other end, Hull wasted a golden chance when Jon Walters sliced off target from just six yards with the goal at his mercy following a ball into his feet by Ben Burgess. The second half was only a few seconds old when Bastock had to save a rising drive from Carl Regan and then Neil Redfearn tested Fettis in reply. Boston went close to breaking the deadlock on 59 minutes but Logan volleyed inches too high after connecting with a Bennett cross from the right. Later on the roles were reversed as Bennett latched onto a Logan pass but failed to find enough power to beat the City custodian. Back at the other end, Bastock was then forced to produce good saves to deny Delaney with a shot from distance and then Joseph with a firmly-struck 20-yard free-kick. Boston continued to huff and puff without being able to break down a solid Hull rearguard and then fell behind to a 73rd minute glancing header from ELLIOTT who directed the ball beyond Bastock's reach following a curling free-kick on the right by Dean Keates. United tried to respond with Bennett and Redfearn leading with some grafting midfield endeavour. And a period of pressure looked like it might produce an equaliser. However, the closest they came was then Stuart Balmer got on the end of a corner from substitute Simon Weatherstone but fired too high. Hull weathered that brief frenzy and hung on without too much distress to their maximum points haul.
United team: (4-4-2) 1. Bastock, 2. Greaves, 3. Balmer, 4. Hocking (Rusk 77), 5. Chapman, 6. Bennett, 7. Redfearn, 8. Ellender, 9. Angel (Gould 54), 10. Logan (Weatherstone 69), 11. Duffield. Subs (not used): Town, Price (gk).