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Yeovil 2-1 Pilgrims

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Battling qualities were an admirable commodity, but not quite sufficient to prevent Boston United from slipping up against table-topping rivals. Defeat away to promotion-chasing Yeovil is nothing to be ashamed of this season, as all but Southport have discovered in 14 Conference fixtures at Huish Park. The Pilgrims joined the ever-growing list of vanquished sides at the home of the champions-elect. But on a day when they had to make numerous personnel changes, United manager Steve Evans felt there was enough scope for future optimism. He said: "For one reason or another, we were without several players. But we have brought in some new and younger faces with a view to looking ahead to going full-time in the summer. It was difficult to get an instant pattern into place, but everyone worked hard and the newcomers proved there is plenty of potential. Now we just need to improve the overall quality to go with it. And that is something I am confident will come quickly." The Pilgrims were certainly not disgraced, and early impressions of new signings from Oxford United - Simon and Ross Weatherstone - plus a brief cameo role for Farid Diaf suggested signs of encouragement for the reminder of the season. Yeovil, however, got the upper hand with a first half goal from £25,000 debutant Michael McIndoe - ironically a midweek transfer target for Evans - and a Simon Betts penalty after the break. Boston's response from a spectacular effort by Mark Rawle came too late to affect relistically the outcome. But it was reward for United's general application.

The Pilgrims began with a mini-flourish, a brace of corners seeing Micky Nuttell head wide from Paul Raynor's set-piece and then home 'keeper Chris Weale palmed away an Andy Lodge flag-kick. The first real chance arrived on 18 minutes when Nick Crittenden saw a shot graze a post after being set up by David Piper and Warren Patmore. Boston responded with Peter Costello seeing a drive blocked while another Nuttell header tested Weale. Yeovil, though, generally held the upper hand with Ben Smith and Patmore both forcing Paul Bastock into good saves. And on 43 minutes, MCINDOE broke the deadlock when slotting in after Bastock had initially done well partially to block a drive from Crittenden. Clear-cut chances early in the second half were largely non-existent as United grittily looked to establish a foothold on proceedings. Ross Weatherstone almost claimed an equaliser when Weale fumbled a shot against a post with United appealing in vain that the ball had crossed the line. Yeovil hit back and doubled their lead on 73 minutes when BETTS buried a spot-kick after Joby Gowshall had bundled over the pacy Barrington Belgrave. At the other end, Weale then had to produce a fine double save to keep out firm drives from Peter Costello and Ross Weatherstone. RAWLE got his name on the scoresheet with a deserved consolation strike for Boston in the 89th minute - his 13th goal of the season - with an opportunist 25-yard volley which took a slight deflection off Terry Skiverton and looped over Weale.

United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Lodge, 4. Gowshall, 5. Howarth, 6. S Weatherstone (Diaf 86), 7. Norris, 8. Costello, 9. Nuttell, 10. Rawle, 11. Raynor (R Weatherstone 64). Subs (not used): Elding, Harris, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.