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Douglas races for the ball

Pilgrims 3-3 Bakili Bullets


by Craig Singleton

There was no shortage of entertainment as Boston United shared six goals in a York Street pre-season tussle with Bakili Bullets who have just clinched their eighth Malawian championship title in the past 10 seasons. The visitors made a lasting impression and contributed to a see-saw encounter which ultimately finished all-square thanks to a last-minute Boston equaliser from Graham Potter. The Bullets proved skilful opponents, but also packed a few heavy challenges which seemed a little out of place in a pre-season friendly. One crunching tackle arrived in the second minute, when Lee Thompson was chopped down. The resultant free-kick saw Potter fire just wide of Swadick Sanudi’s upright. Bakili took the lead on 16 minutes when Fisher KONDOWE tapped the ball into an empty net after Paul Bastock had completely missed his kick when charging out of his box to clear after hesitancy between Stuart Balmer and Mark Greaves. And the visitors extended their lead in the 34th minute when Kondwani NUMDWE headed home Ian Mhura’s cross, despite Bastock getting a strong hand on the ball.

In reply, Tom Bennett whistled a 20-yarder just wide after Paul Ellender had laid the ball back into his path. But Boston halved the deficit in the 42nd minute when trialist Scott BROUGH smashed home after Ellender had squared the ball back to him from Lee Thompson’s initial cross. Boston almost equalised on the hour but Neil Redfearn’s rasping shot was palmed over by Sanudi. A minute later, Boston won a penalty when Bennett was bundled over by Sanudi after flicking a header beyond the keeper’s reach. REDFEARN took the resultant spot-kick and sent Sanudi the wrong way. But Bakili took the lead again in the 88th minute when James CHILAPONDWA fired home from the spot after Matt Hocking had tripped Grant Lungu. It looked like Boston were beaten, especially when POTTER saw a shot gathered by Sanudi. But the ex-York man had the final say when he popped up with the equaliser in the 90th minute, connecting with Redfearn’s looping cross to drill home.

United team: Bastock (Croudson 46), Sutch (Rusk 46), Potter (N Thompson 46), Ellender (Balmer 72), Greaves (Hocking 46), Balmer (Higgins 46), Bennett (Potter 72), Clarke (Sutch 72), Douglas (Brough 76), L Thompson (Greaves 76), Brough (Redfearn 46).

Match report copyright © Craig Singleton, 2003. Photo copyright © Ken Fox, 2003.