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Pilgrims 1-1 Bamber Bridge

Unibond League

The Pilgrims' disappointing home form continued with a 1-1 draw against lowly placed Bamber Bridge. However, with Barrow and Bishop Auckland both losing it could be seen as a point gained rather than two points lost. It was a battling performance and United were missing new signing Martin Filson who is suspended for three games following his booking in the game at Belper. To replace him United started with Paul Watts up front alongside Leroy Chambers. Also for the first time the name of Neil Featherstone appeared on the first team list for a league match, albeit as a substitute, following his prolific goalscoring in the reserves.

Most of United's chances in the first half came from long range shots. First Steve Charles, then Chris Withe, then Danny Marshall all saw shots from outside the area go over the bar. Greg Fee also had a crack at goal from the edge of the area which was deflected just wide of the left post. New signing Len Curtis then headed wide from the resulting corner. The best chance of the first half fell to Bamber Bridge. Five minutes from half time Ashley Hopkins put Ian Vickers in the clear but he wasted his opportunity by firing wide.

The second half began with more pressure applied to the Bamber Bridge goal. Three minutes into the half and a Steve Charles shot was pushed round the post for a corner. Chris Withe was kept busy taking corners throughout the half. One of these resulted in a goalmouth scramble that was eventually punted away and another in a shot that was only just cleared off the line.

Andrew Stanhope replaced Danny Marshall for the last twenty-five minutes and shortly after he came on Bamber Bridge unexpectedly took the lead. Neil Spencer beat Martin Hardy but Paul Bastock did well to deflect his shot for a corner. The corner sailed through the area and the Boston defence ran out, but they were not quick enough and the ball was knocked back in for Ashley HOPKINS to beat the offside trap and dribble round Paul Bastock to score an easy goal.

Three minutes later and Boston had equalised. With a substitution managers must dream about, Paul CAVELL came on for Paul Watts and scored with his first touch. It was a tremendous goal. He lobbed the ball into the top right hand corner of the net from the edge of the area past a bemused Bamber Bridge goalkeeper.

Five minutes from time and Chris Withe got booked for showing too much elbow to an opponent's face. He was replaced in the last minute by Neil Featherstone but the substitution magic failed to work for a second time.

With Leroy Chambers about to join Martin Filson on a period of suspension, United could have problems in front of goal in the next few games. I guess we will soon be finding out whether Neil Featherstone can be as effective in the Unibond League as he has been in the Lincolnshire League.

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Charles, 7. Danny Marshall, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Paul Watts, 10. Leroy Chambers, 11. Len Curtis, 12. Paul Cavell, 14. Neil Featherstone, 15. Andrew Stanhope