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Pilgrims 0-1 Hartlepool United

FA Cup

After dominating much of the game, Boston United can consider themselves unlucky to have been dumped out of this season's FA Cup by a solitary strike from former Pilgrim Adam Boyd. So they failed in their attempt to be the first Boston United side to make it through to the fourth round where an away tie against Brentford awaited. Rather surprisingly manager Steve Evans decided to play defender Greg Strong up front alongside Andy Kirk, leaving recognized striker Jason Lee on the bench. Hartlepool began the match with two long range strikes at goal in the first five minutes. The first by Antony Sweeney missed to the right and the second by Andrew Appleby missed to the left. Boston's first attempt of note came after seventeen minutes when Boston won a free kick after Andy Kirk was fouled, but David Noble's kick was easily saved by Dimitrios Konstantopoulos in the Hartlepool goal. A long kick downfield by Nathan Abbey set up a good chance for Kirk, but Konstantopoulos just managed to leap high enough to prevent his lob from reaching the goal. Strong then had a shot at goal, but his effort was screwed wide. David Noble saw his shot from 25 yards out deflected for a corner off Mark Tinkler. Then two minutes from the end of the half Kevin James shot wide of the right post after a build-up involving David Noble, Danny Thomas and Andy Kirk. Boston continued to attack from the start of the second half.

Andy Kirk soon saw his well hit shot caught by the keeper. Then Boston won a free kick on the left after Danny Thomas was fouled. The referee moved the kick ten yards forward after the Hartlepool wall failed to moved back the specified distance. David Noble's kick was met by Mark Greaves, whose header was well saved. Greaves soon limped off following a challenge with Jack Ross that also resulted in the Boston player being booked. Simon Rusk came on as his replacement. Boston came close to taking the lead following a goal-mouth scramble from a Thomas corner, but somehow the ball evaded the net. Hartlepool took the lead out of nowhere, when Adam BOYD struck a shot from 25 yards out that took a wicked deflection off Paul Ellender to divert the ball past the helpless Abbey into the corrner of the net. Boston continued to battle in search of an equaliser, and in the dying seconds looked to have achieved their aim. But the referee ruled out substitute Lee Thompson's effort after spotting Andy Kirk in an offside position. After the match Steve Evans commented: "Their shots on target in the second half is one. It's gone in off a deflection. It's not even a good strike. We've out-played them. We've out-fought them. We've out-battled them and it's a travesty that we're out of the cup."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Paul Ellender, Mark Greaves (Simon Rusk 61), Kevin James (Lee Thompson 87), David Noble (Jason Lee 83), Chris Holland, Andy Kirk, Greg Strong, Danny Thomas. Subs not used: Steve Melton, Courtney Pitt.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2005.