Pilgrims 2-1 Torquay United
by Barbara Singleton
Out of adversity came triumph. Boston United chalked up their most notable scalp of the season with a tremendous fightback performance to topple high-flying Torquay. The Pilgrims, without the services of seven key players due to injuries and suspension, achieved a stunning success thanks to goals early in the second half by Jamie Cook and Lee Thompson. These strikes overturned a rasping breakthrough effort from Torquay's Matt Hockley with the match just six minutes old. At that point, it looked as though York Street would witness another afternoon devoid of success. But creditably, the United players rose to the challenge of trying to vacate the basement rung of the table with a rousing, and rewarding, second half show. The maximum spoils haul helped Boston climb off the basement rung of the table and prevented Torquay from taking top spot. And acting boss Neil Thompson was delighted with the outcome. He said: "The three points earned means a lot to everyone in the camp and certainly gives us something to work on. I thought we played with a high tempo and the players put in a great all-round effort. A performance and result like that gives everyone a sense of pride. Now we have to kick on from this and try to make progress up the table." The Pilgrims' superb win was attained despite not having a recognised striker in their starting line-up with Cook and Simon Weatherstone handed the joint role of testing the visiting back line. In addition the restored presence down the left after injury of Ben Chapman and Mark Angel also helped to give the Pilgrims a more balanced and creative look to their side. Chapman, in particular, was arguably the team's best performer with an assured display of defending and forward movement. Angel looked hungry throughout, his display triggered by a close call after just two minutes when he linked up well with Tom Bennett before seeing a cheeky chip shot just drop over the bar. However, Torquay hit back and went ahead on six minutes with HOCKLEY whacking a long range drive past Paul Bastock and into the net off a post.
Boston briefly threatened a speedy comeback as Simon Weatherstone looked on in anguish as a 12-yard shot bobbled wide after Paul Holmes had hacked an attempted clearance straight into his path. After that, it was largely a tale of both sides having a fair percentage of the possession, although Torquay had a near monopoly on chances created. Martin Gritton and Alex Russell both saw headers flash wide while Bastock produced three high-quality saves to deny Gritton and Marvin Brown (twice) while Kevin Hill also fired off-target when well placed. But after the break it was a different tale even though United lost the services of Mark Greaves through injury. He was replaced by Ross Weatherstone whose subsequent display was one of controlled determination. Boston held sway almost from the moment when, on 48 minutes, Simon Weatherstone crumpled to the deck under an apparent hefty penalty area shove from Reuben Hazell. No spot-kick was forthcoming. But the impetus had thus been triggered. Despite their lofty position, Torquay suddenly looked vulnerable. And this was more so the case in the 55th minute when COOK drilled home low and hard after good cross-field build-up work by Ross Weatherstone, Chapman and Angel had created the opening. Dramatically, Boston turned the screw again in the 63rd minute when a cross-cum-shot from the right by Lee THOMPSON curled over stranded keeper Kevin Dearden (included in the Torquay side despite obviously being far from fully fit) and into the net. The Pilgrims continued to apply the pressure and both Weatherstone brothers almost added to the lead with a header and shot respectively as Torquay struggled to hit back. The closest the visitors came was in the 85th minute when and unmarked David Woozley headed over from a Russell corner with the goal virtually at his mercy. That was perhaps the slice of luck Boston deserved, and needed, to fuel their hopes of fully climbing away from the drop zone.
United team: (4-4-2) 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Chapman, 4. Bennett, 5. Hocking, 6. Greaves (R Weatherstone 46), 7. Higgins, 8. Angel (Gould 90), 9. L Thompson, 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Cook (Elding 89). Subs (not used): Redfearn, Conroy (gk).