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The short and the tall

Pilgrims 2-2 Huddersfield Town

Nationwide League

by Barbara Singleton

Honours ended even as Boston United and Huddersfield battled out a hugely entertaining score draw at York Street. It was a match rich in action, drama and talking points, but one which also served as a brilliant advert for Third Division football -- and arguably one of the best seen at Boston for a long time. The Pilgrims drew first blood through a first half strike by Neil Redfearn only to see the visitors responded with two goals in quick succession at the start of the second half. But United rescued a point with a sensational volley in the 67th minute from midfielder Paul Ellender. Huddersfield started out as the stronger-looking side and Jon Stead drilled wide of Paul Bastock’s post in the fifth minute. Things looked a touch dicey for Boston as the Terriers maintained good attacking momentum. A mix-up between Matt Hocking and Bastock allowed Stead to nip round both and as the Huddersfield man broke wide, he saw his shot cannon wide off a post. Then, Efe Sodje’s header from a John Thorrington corner was hacked clear by Tom Bennett. However, Boston responded well and took the lead on 22 minutes when REDFEARN fired low into the net following Stuart Douglas’ low centre from the right after he had evaded Steve Yates' challenge following a neatly lofted pass from Richard Logan. Huddersfield, though, almost levelled on 28 minutes when Yates rose to meet Sodje’s cross following a partially cleared corner. However, his header flew across the face of goal and wide. Back at the other end, Graeme Jones almost doubled the home lead in the 37th minute when he headed marginally wide following Redfearn’s left-wing centre. Huddersfield went close again before the break. Tony Carss drilled a rising snapshot off target following Gray’s huge downfield clearance and then Stead managed to get a shot away despite the attentions of Hocking and his effort dropped agonisingly wide. Douglas responded on the stroke of half-time for Boston when he turned Sodje and hocked an effort just over Gray’s crossbar following Bennett’s teasing cross.

Boston opened the second half well and Redfearn’s dipping volley dropped over after Yates had only partially cleared a corner. At the other end, Bastock had to be alert to clutch Stead’s rising effort. Logan’s excellent run down the right resulted in him firing in a shot that was blocked by Yates before Redfearn rifled a resultant volley just too high. Huddersfield equalised in the 55th minute when STEAD stroked the ball home following a neatly judged pass from Carss who had won possession from Redfearn. Town continued to press and Thorrington’s teasing centre found inspirational substitute Andy Booth who drilled wide when he arguably should have done better. The persistence paid off when Huddersfield went in front in the 60th minute when HUGHES headed home Carss’ corner via a knock-back across goal from Booth. But Boston almost drew level immediately. However, Redfearn’s piledriver was superbly tipped over by Gray. Boston had penalty appeals waved aside in the 66th minute when Douglas appeared to be shoved by Sodje as the pair fought to get the ball as it ran towards goal following Gray’s mis-kick on the edge-of-the-area. But Boston pulled level in the 67th minute when ELLENDER smashed home a 25-yard volley after Douglas’ centre had only been partially cleared by Yates. Bastock produced a magnificent one-handed tip-over save to deny Booth’s 18-yard effort. The subsequent corner saw Bastock palm away Stead’s low header and then grab Carss’ drilled volley. Stead went close again with a header marginally going over the bar from Thorrington’s cross. Boston looked to regain the initiative and Redfearn seized possession on the half-way line before advancing through the Terriers’ half and testing Gray with a low effort, which the Huddersfield keeper was more then equal to. Redfearn almost won the game for Boston in the final minute when he curled a 20-yarder just wide after Douglas set up the chance.

United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Sutch, Greaves, Hocking, Chapman; Logan, Bennett, Ellender, Redfearn; Jones, Douglas. Subs (not used): Duffield, Potter, Balmer, Clarke, Croudson (gk).

Match report copyright © Barbara Singleton, 2003. Photo copyright © Ken Fox, 2003.