Dover Athletic 0-0 Pilgrims
by Barbara Singleton
Ignore the scoreline. This was anything but a drab goalless draw. Boston United's quest for a first win in eight competitive matches ultimately fell short of its target. But it wasn't for the lack of trying. And Pilgrims' boss Steve Evans was upbeat in his assessment of the team's performance. He said: "It was an excellent match. We had plenty of chances, but their keeper was in inspired form. Normally you would expect people of Paul Fewings' and Ken Charlery's quality to put away one or two of the opportunities that came their way. On the day, though, it was not to be. I don't think Dover posed as much of a threat to us as we did to them. But when all is said and done, a point away from home in this league has to be seen positively." Despite going into the clash without the services of suspended trio Colin Hoyle, Jim Dick and Paul Wilson, Boston carved out a succession of good openings in the early minutes - admittedly after having a second minute let-off when Lee Shearer headed wide from a Steve Norman cross. Boston exerted plenty of pressure, forced a succession of corners and carved out numerous chances with home keeper Paul Hyde a big factor in keeping the scores level. First Paul Raynor drew a good save from the home custodian with a low drive through a crowd of players. Seconds later Fewings was denied following a fine half-volley on the turn.
And then a Raynor free-kick flashed inches past a post. Near to half-time United went close again when Jason Minett miscued after Hyde - for once - had shown frailty when dealing with a Richard Lucas corner. But Boston also had to weather a period of Dover pressure - a spell in which it was the turn of United keeper Paul Bastock to show his credentials. First, in the 20th minute, he did well to hold a header from Neil Le Bihan following a Lee McRobert cross. Thirteen minutes later ex-Lincoln City striker Steve Brown broke free but saw Bastock save expertly. Then two minutes later the same scenario ended with a fine point-blank stop from the United man. The second half followed a similar pattern. Boston enjoyed the early pressure with Fewings and Charlery both seeing Hyde pull off excellent saves. Then, Charlery missed out on a chance to add to his goal tally with a trio of uncharacteristic off-target finishes when well placed. Dover responded with Norman seeing a 67th minute drive deflected over the United bar, and Stuart Munday's long distance drive was clutched by Bastock. In the dying throes, both sides had a final chance apiece to settle the issue. First for Boston, substitute Mark Rawle wastefully spooned a shot high over the bar from just six yards out while at the other end Norman headed into the Boston net on 86 minutes, but saw the effort disallowed for a push.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Gowshall, 3. Lucas, 4. Curtis, 5. Howarth, 6. Minett, 7. Mills, 8. Charlery, 9. Raynor, 10. Fewings (Rawle 73), 11. Turner. Subs (not used): Nuttell, French, Wooding, Martin (gk).
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.