Pilgrims 6-0 Salisbury City
Dr Martens League
Match Report by Barbara Singleton
It took fully 45 minutes for the machine to click into gear. But when it did, the effect was dramatic. Boston United powered to their biggest opening day win in 31 years of senior non-league football by hitting visiting Salisbury for six. And in the process, the result gave manager Steve Evans the perfect start to what he hopes will be a successful Dr Martens League campaign - although he wasn't totally happy with side's overall display. He said "In the first half, we never really got going. And to be fair, Salisbury looked very inventive, posed plenty of threats and were possibly unlucky to be a goal down at the interval. "At half-time, I gave our team a right rollocking and the dressing room paint must have nearly peeled off. To be fair to the players, they responded brilliantly in the second half. "We were far more competitive, looked sharper in front of goal and possibly ought to have scored even more. However, it's a superb way to start the season. But now we know the sort of standards we must achieve on a regular basis." In the opening stages, though, the Pilgrims did not reach any real heights and were arguably lucky not to have conceded at least one goal. But that was due largely to some combatitive defending, notably by Colin Hoyle, plus one outstanding save by Paul Bastock, who acrobatically tipped over a close range 42nd minute header from Paul Sales. For lengthy spells, United had to play second fiddle in midfield where the impressive Ian Chalk was a constant source of invention for the visitors, while Tyrone Bowers and Roger Emms looked threatening when openings materialised.
Salisbury exerted plenty of pressure during the first 45 minutes, their ascendancy being illustrated by the fact that United centre-forward Micky Nuttell probably spent as much time in his own penalty area defending as he did at the opposite end of the pitch. But in the end, it all worked out for the best. Boston grabbed an 18th minute lead with Andrew STANHOPE bundling in from close range after possession had reached him in pinball fashion - bouncing off Nuttell and Paul Watts following a long-range drive by Peter Costello. Stanhope's prompting and mazy runs from out on the right were United's best feature in the first half, although Watts and Porter both came within a hair's breadth of extending the lead. However, the real fireworks came after the break. It all started just 25 seconds after referee Chris Gawthorp whistled at the re-start - Paul Wilson crossing from deep on the left for NUTTELL to net with a downward header. Two minutes later WILSON was on target from the penalty spot after Neil Housley handled in the area. Then in quickfire style NUTTELL bagged his second on 51 minutes with a far post prod after keeper Paul Myers had flapped at a Stanhope cross. The rout developed further in the 66th minute when a Gary Porter corner flashed across goal for HOYLE to flick home. The final salvo was fired by Mark RAWLE in the 86th minute when he fired in after tidily chest-controlling a centre from a Stanhope cross. It wasn't totally one way traffic, though, with Bastock having to make three excellent saves to prevent Sales, Robbie Harbut and Chalk from spoiling his coveted clean sheet.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Paul Wilson, 4. Colin Hoyle, 5. Peter Costello, 6. David Rennie, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Gary Porter, 9. Mickey Nuttell, 10. Paul Watts, 11. David Norris, 12. Mark Rawle, 14. Andy Taylor, 15. Leigh Taylor.
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo. Reproduced here with the author's permission.