Leigh RMI 1-2 Pilgrims
With Dagenham & Redbridge winning their televised match against Doncaster Rovers on Friday night, the pressure was on the Pilgrims to pick up the points at Leigh to maintain their title challenge. Manager Steve Evans sprang a few surprises with his starting line-up. Peter Costello came in for Ray Warburton and Anthony Elding made a welcome return to the side to partner Daryl Clare up front. Simon Weatherstone was also sufficiently fit to start and Simon Rusk was preferred to Mark Angel. The Pilgrims did not have to wait long for their first goalscoring opportunity. On three minutes, James Gould broke forward down the left wing and was bundled to the ground as he moved into the penalty area. The referee pointed to the spot. Daryl CLARE forced the ball home, following up after his initial effort had been parried. Gould sustained an injury on 21 minutes and was replaced by Mark Angel. Until just before half-time, despite having most of the play, Boston were finding it difficult to produce the killer pass to break open the Leigh defence. On 43 minutes a cross from Angel found Clare who played the ball into the path of Mickey BROWN who fired home.
Leigh had to substitute their keeper Mark Westhead at half-time as he had sustained a back injury, so defender Nicky Spooner took over in goal. For long periods in the second half, neither side looked like scoring. Clare came closest to increasing the Boston lead, but his powerful shot ricochetted off a Leigh defender for a corner. Jim Rodwell then had his head bandaged following a clash of heads that left him with blood pouring from a gash. Ten minutes from the end, Jamie Cook came on for a tiring Brown. In injury time he almost got on the scoresheet when he dribbled right through the Leigh defence, but he stumbled at the last moment to allow Leigh to recover. Taking his inspiration from Cook, Leigh's Ian MONK tried the same thing at the other end, and he was more successful, grabbing a goal with a powerful long-range finish that gave Paul Bastock no chance. Leigh almost stole a point right at the death when Michael Twiss found the ball at his feet following a series of lucky bounces as Boston desperately tried to clear the ball from the danger area. But fortunately for Boston, his final shot was a few inches too high.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould (Angel 20), 4. Ellender, 5. Costello, 6. Rodwell, 7. Brown (Cook 80), 8. Elding (Town 89), 9. Clare, 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Rusk. Subs not used: R Weatherstone, Conroy.
Match report and photo by Ken Fox.