Stevenage Borough 3-2 Pilgrims
After their valiant performance at Rushden last week, the Pilgrims threw away a game that until very late on looked like an easy three points in the bag. Two goals up with just fifteen minutes left against a very ordinary looking Stevenage side, they conspired to let in three goals to gift their opponents an unlikely win. Boston started the match without Joby Gowshall who was out suspended. Len Curtis stepped in as his replacement. A late change in the starting line-up saw Mark Rawle replace Paul Fewings, a switch that was only announced a minute before the kick-off. The match began with few chances at either end. Rawle and Charlery were failing to link up and Stevenage were relying on quick breaks down the right wing, which were let down by poor crosses. New loan signing Daniel French started his first game and was looking dangerous. In one memorable move, he switched wings, then got the ball and beat two Stevenage players but just failed to make the killer cross. On 33 minutes, Rawle finally found Charlery with a pass, who spotted RAYNOR unmarked on the edge of the area and threaded the ball through to him to side foot home. Two minutes later Paul Wilson almost increased Boston's lead with a long range shot that Paul Wilkerson in the Stevenage goal could only deflect behind for a corner. Right at the end of the half Paul Bastock made an amazing fingertip save to deny Stevenage's McMahon who had broken clear through the centre.
Stevenage made a substitution at half time, bringing on Kirby for McMahon, then a few minutes later brought on another substitute when striker Darran Hay replaced the ineffectual Leadbeater. Twenty minutes into the second half, after a period of sustained pressure, Boston went two up when Ken CHARLERY headed home a corner. It now began to look easy for Boston. A wicked curling shot by Jim Dick that was heading towards the top left hand corner of the goal was only just intercepted at the last second by the Stevenage keeper, who had to make another good save from Raynor a minute later. With fifteen minutes left Boston started to self destruct. A quick break down the right by Hay resulted in a pinpoint cross to unmarked centre forward Adrian CLARK to slot home. Steve Evans then decided to bring on some fresh legs, replacing Rawle and French by Nuttell and Stanhope respectively. Stevenage equalised in controversial fashion. After blowing for a Stevenage free kick, the referee appeared to change his mind and waved his arms to indicate that the advantage should be played. This allowed another break down the right that this time found HAY, whose shot took a cruel deflection to squeeze between Paul Bastock's despairing dive and the upright. The Stevenage winner came right at the end when confusion in the Boston goalmouth presented HAY with a simple tap in.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Wooding, 3. Lucas, 4. Hoyle, 5. Curtis, 6. Wilson, 7. French (Stanhope), 8. Charlery, 9. Raynor, 10. Rawle, 11. Dick. Subs (not used): Lodge, Minett, Martin (gk).
Match report and photo by Ken Fox.