Pilgrims 2-1 Swindon Town
LDV Vans Trophy
by Barbara Singleton
New recruit Bayo Akinfenwa was the last-gasp hero for Boston United. The 21-year-old striker capped a superb debut performance by grabbing the Pilgrims giant-killing winner in the dying seconds of an entertaining LDV Vans Trophy first round tie against Second Division promotion chasers Swindon Town. Visitors boss Andy King made several alterations to his regular squad which he admitted in post-match interviews probably played a part in the overall result. But that was of no consequence to Neil Thompson and his resilient Pilgrims squad. Minus the services of numerous regulars for genuine reasons, Thommo had little option other than naming the side which took to the field. But the players did him - and the club - proud with an all-action display and an ultimately deserved victory. It was a lively encounter, but surprisingly took the best part of 15 minutes to spark into action with Akinfenwas pass finding Simon Weatherstone who fired just too high. However, in the 16th minute, United broke through when Mark Angel (again in purposeful form all night) delivered a fine free-kick and Lee BEEVERS headed in unmarked. Swindon battled hard to try and find a way back with lively strikers Jon Stevenson and Brian Howard frequently testing the home rearguard. But Boston hit back and it was only the agility of Town keeper Bart Griemink that prevented Weatherstone from doubling the home lead.
However, Swindon made full use of that escape by netting a 31st minute equaliser when Steve ROBINSON stabbed home through a crowded six-yard box following a cutback from the promising Seb Ruster after the Boston defence had failed to fully clear their lines. Once again the Pilgrims replied with close calls for Angel, Weatherstone and Akinfenwa while at the other end, Swindon also missed out when openings arrived for Robinson and Stevenson. Early in the second half Weatherstone and Ruster exchanged further untaken chances and then in the 60th minute Ruster created space down the right and crossed for Stevenson to head straight at Paul Bastock. It nearly proved a costly miss as, from an ensuing breakaway, Angels cross from the left split the Town rearguard and fell for Weatherstone eight yards out. But Griemink somehow threw himself full length to deflect away the United mans snapshot. Remarkably, Griemink almost turned scorer moments later when a huge punt down field took a wicked bounce just outside the United box and forced Bastock to back-pedal and tip over at the expense of a corner. Once again in an ebb-and-flow encounter, Boston hit back and Griemink saved well from an Angel free-kick and then Adrian Viveash had to hack away from a dangerous centre by lively home substitute Scott Brough. Then just as the tie seemed destined for extra time, up popped the forceful presence of AKINFENWA to jubilantly net Bostons winner with the clock ticking into stoppage time. He managed to hook the ball home from six yards after Brough had fired over a low cross after running on to a neatly threaded pass by Angel.
United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Hogg, Hocking, Ellender, Beevers; Clarke, L Thompson (Brough 70), Bennett, Angel; Weatherstone (Duffield 70), Akinfenwa. Subs (not used): Balmer, Jones, Croudson (gk).