Southend United 4-2 Pilgrims
by Barbara Singleton
Another day of disappointment for Boston United as a sixth straight league reverse kept the Pilgrims anchored firmly at the foot of the Third Division table. Once again it was a tale of early defensive woes which contributed to the downfall as opponents Southend celebrated a rare home success. Boston found themselves three goals adrift at the interval and to many observers completely down and out by that stage. A valiant attempt at a second half recovery yielded goals from Richard Logan and Mark Angel as the Pilgrims sought an unlikely fightback route. However, Southend held on and settled the issue just before the final whistle when defender Leon Cort completed a remarkable hat-trick - three similar headed goals from set pieces. Boston opened well and forced a succession of throw-ins down the right. From one of these throws, Neil Redfearn fired tamely wide. Southend went ahead on seven minutes when CORT headed home from Maher's left-wing free-kick after Lee Thompson had brought down Rawle. In reply, Redfearn's 11th minute header dropped just over the bar from Angel's centre. Then, Costello's cross from the right found Angel but he slipped at the crucial time and failed to test Shrimpers keeper Darryl Flahavan with a shot. The home side doubled their lead on 24 minutes when CORT headed home again from another free-kick, this time from full-back Damon Searle. Boston almost responded immediately as Logan headed wide from Redfearn's free-kick. Cort almost completed an unlikely hat-trick on the half-hour but saw his low shot well gathered by Bastock.
Boston's luck was shortlived as MARK RAWLE lashed home number three on 39 minutes after Tesfaye Bramble past Hocking to slip the ball on. Boston's search for a goal was quick and Flahavan had to be on his toes to tip over a 25-yard Redfearn free-kick after Logan had been felled by David McSweeney. In first half stoppage time Bastock produced a fine save with his legs to deny Tony Scully after he had gone on a dazzling run from his own box. At the beginning of the second half, Cort headed just wide from Maher's corner in the 48th minute. Redfearn then replicated the feat from Angel's flag-kick. Boston got a goal back on 57 minutes when LOGAN buried the ball low past Flahavan after Costello had played in Chapman to cross. Moments later, Logan burst clear and saw Flahavan parry well before McSweeney deflected Simon Weatherstone's rebound wide. Boston cut the deficit even further in the 64th minute when ANGEL smashed home a shot at the second attempt after seeing his initial low shot blocked by Flahavan. Flahavan then denied Weatherstone after he had got onto Costello's through ball and Thompson was unable to capitalise on the loose ball. Weatherstone wasted a great chance on 70 minutes after latching onto Logan's throughball and dragging wide of the far post with only Flahavan to beat. Further untaken chances fell to Redfearn (twice), Costello and Weatherstone before CORT completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute and sealed the win when he headed home from Maher's free-kick.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Hocking, 3. Chapman, 4. Redfearn, 5. Balmer, 6. Costello, 7. Higgins, 8. Angel, 9. L Thompson, 10. Logan (Douglas 78), 11. S Weatherstone. Subs (not used): Cook, R Weatherstone, Battersby, Conroy (gk).