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Pilgrims 0-1 Ipswich Town


by Barbara Singleton

A single goal decided Boston United's first pre-season friendly encounter on a night when the Pilgrims used two complete teams of players. Under the watchful eye of assistant manager Neil Thompson in the absence of suspended boss Steve Evans, the York Street outfit came close to matching an Ipswich Town reserve side comprising of mostly under-20 reserves. The young visitors arguably merited their slender success, primarily on the basis of a purposeful second half when only half-a-dozen excellent saves from home keeper Nick Conroy prevented them from running up a bigger margin of victory. It was hugely to Conroy's credit that he kept his goal intact for the second 45 minutes. The only telling strike action had unfolded in the 14th minute when Simon Rusk stumbled when trying to intercept a threaded pass from Steve Burton and Matthew BLOOMFIELD fired past Paul Bastock. The match began with the Ipswich youngsters having the edge in the opening exchanges, first when Burton tested Bastock and then with the breakthrough goal. Boston showed plenty of foraging determination, but their raids frequently fell foul of solid defensive work by Justin Miller and Lee Beevers. Then, around the half-hour mark Daryl Clare sprang to prominence with three good openings in quick succession.

First he shot low and wide after Paul Ellender had nodded down a cross from trialist Jon Brady. Then he was twice denied by good saves from visiting keeper James Pullen. Early in the second half a completely substituted United team again went close when David Town drilled inches too high after controlling a Mark Monington lofted free-kick. But then came the Conroy solo show. First on 58 minutes he produced an excellent block to deny Burton. Seconds later he plunged to his left to push away a Richard Logan drive. After 62 minutes Nabil Abidallah cut in from the left only to be thwarted by Conroy who, later on, remarkably saved at point-blank range when Matthew Robinson was isolated on the six-yard line. Boston hit back with a 76th minute cross from Gez Murphy which found Lee Elam but his header was saved by Pullen who was forced into action. Pullen then did well to deny Andy Lodge while a looping shot from Murphy drifted over the top. The final action of note again belonged to Conroy when a cross from the left by Stuart Broadley was met on the volley by Will Snowdon. But again the Pilgrims goalkeeper stood firm.

United team (1st Half): 1. Bastock, 2. Rusk, 3. Rodwell, 4. Hocking, 5. Chapman, 6. Brady, 7. Ellender, 8. S Weatherstone, 9. Angel, 10. Clare, 11. Elding.

United team (2nd Half): 1. Conroy, 2. R Weatherstone, 3. Monington, 4. Warburton, 5. Lodge, 6. Elam, 7. Costello, 8. Gould, 9. Town, 10. Murphy, 11. McNamara.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.