Pilgrims 0-1 Margate
Boston United kicked off their Conference campaign with a home game against newly promoted Margate. The two sides had only met at York Street once before, when both sides had been plying their trade in the Dr Martens League two seasons earlier. Only three of the Boston side that played that day were still with the club as the side had been rebuilt following promotion. New summer signings on show included former Liverpool midfielder Mike Marsh and club record signing Paul Ellender, who had joined from Scarborough only the previous day. Ellender was a commanding presence in the heart of the Boston defence and looked well worth the money that had been spent in bringing him to York Street. Boston also had a new face in goal as James Evans had been brought in as a stand-in for the suspended Paul Bastock and the not fully fit Nick Conroy. He coped well with his first Conference action for the Pilgrims, though the Margate side defended so deeply that he wasn't called upon to make a single save from open play in the entire match. He was however beaten by a Margate penalty on 71 minutes that decided the result, after Monington had handled an incoming shot from Sierra Leone international John Keister, an offence for which he received a red card. BRAITHWAITE dispatched an unstoppable piledriver of a spot kick to the right of the keeper.
It was Braithwaite who had set up the initial effort after leaving Ellender for dead in his wake as he sped down the right wing. Boston started the game well, playing some attractive football and reducing Margate to rare breaks which invariably found lone striker Braithwaite offside. On the half hour Simon Weatherstone broke through the Margate defence and had a clear shot at goal. Somehow the initial effort was cleared off the line and the follow-up header parried by Margate keeper Charlie Mitten before being scrambled away. Just before half time, Andrew Lodge was struck in the face and received attention to his bleeding nose. He was taken off at the break, being replaced by David Town. The second half saw more Boston pressure, but no Boston goals. Brown looked dangerous every time he got the ball and Daryl Clare worked hard but with nothing to show for his efforts. After scoring twice against Scunthorpe earlier in the week, Ken Charlery looked out of sorts in this game and was replaced near the end by Gez Murphy. Boston went seven games without a win at the start of last season's campaign. They will be hoping for a rapid turn around in fortunes to avoid a similar fate this time around.
United team: 1. Evans, 2. Clifford, 3. Lodge (Town 46), 4. Ellender, 5. Monington, 6. Marsh, 7. Brown, 8. Charlery (Murphy 80), 9. Clare, 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Angel (R Weatherstone 72). Subs not used: Cook, Conroy.
Match report by Ken Fox.