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Pilgrims 2-1 Lincoln City

Coca Cola League

by Pete Brooksbank

Take that Lincoln! Thatís what Boston fans would like to be able to say today. But, once the euphoria of Lawrie Dudfiedís winner has died down, they will all be secretly breathing a huge sigh of relief that Cityís second-half dominance didnít translate into an embarrassing Mansfield-esque capitulation. Boston sat back on their 1-0 advantage and rarely even made it in Cityís half, yet somehow stunned the visitors with a winner three minutes into injury time. Bostonís nervy victory may have been undeserved on the balance of play, but in reality Lincoln did little with their superiority to suggest they will seriously contend for promotion. Lacking a ruthless streak, the Imps paid heavily for their generosity and set themselves up for the inevitable smash-and-grab raid in the 94th minute. But letís not be too unfair on Boston, for it was the Pilgrims who had the better of a lacklustre first 45, taking the lead through Julian JOACHIMíS scrambled effort on 27 minutes. The Imps decided not to bother marking Chris Holland on the back post as Jamie Clarke delivered his free kick, although Hollandís woeful free header was Staffsmart Stand bound until it was nodded onto the bar by Dudfield. Joachim simply finished the job. Boston defended well and had the measure of Lincoln in the midfield, yet they continued with their frustrating hoof-ball tactics, lofting balls over Julian Joachimís head whenever they could. The second half, predictably, saw the visitors peg the Pilgrims in their own half, but without really testing the loveable Kuipers.

On 64 minutes, Simon Yeo had his game ended by an over-zealous Gary Silk as he tried to squirm into the Boston box. Silk, presumably, was trying to kick him over the Gliderdome. Consequently, the motionless striker was stretchered off with what now seems to be serious, season-ending knee ligament damage. Lincoln got their revenge a mere sixty-seconds later. Marvin ROBINSONíS brilliant equaliser was worth the admission fee on its own; an over-the-shoulder hook shot from the edge of the area. It was his first touch after replacing Yeo. Kuipers didnít even move, probably already applauding as the ball left Robinsonís foot. Lincoln looked the only team capable of producing the winner, and when Kuipers palmed away Mayoís long-range free-kick in stoppage time, it seemed as though the match was heading for another draw. Boston, however, had one card up their sleeve Ė the energy and creativity of forgotten man Danny Thomas. His pace took the Imps by surprise in the final seconds of the game, and his quick runs imposed just enough pressure on the attacking visitors to suddenly give the Pilgrims a corner on 94 minutes. Joachim almost grabbed the winner with a ferocious near-post attempt that Marriot did well to claw away The Pilgrims had better luck with the next corner when DUDFIELD pounced on another loose ball to claim all three points and send the eight Pilgrims fans at York Street delirious at the prospect of missing the play-offs by a slightly closer margin than last season.

United team: Michel Kuipers, Lee Canoville, Austin McCann, Gary Silk, Alan White, Chris Holland (Danny Thomas 87), Jamie Clarke, Stewart Talbot, Peter Till, Julian Joachim, Lawrie Dudfield (Asa Hall 90). Subs not used: Jermaine McSporran, Bradley Maylett, Steve Melton.

Match report copyright © Pete Brooksbank 2006.