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Pilgrims 0-0 Woking

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

They might have conquered the wintry elements. But Boston United were unable to gain maximum rewards to match their weather-beating feat. The Pilgrims had large swaths of territorial ascendancy against Woking, but couldn't find a way past a solid visiting back line and in-form keeper Vince Matassa. In the end, United had to settle for a share of the spoils - their 12th Conference draw of the season. The point gained edged Boston into the top seven of the table and stretched their recent mini-unbeaten run to seven competitive outings. But the fact that they were unable to find the net brought a halt to a free-scoring sequence of 19 goals from the previous six matches. However, manager Steve Evans retained a positive view of events, particularly as the Pilgrims had to tackle Saturday's match without the services of several regular first-teamers. He said: "We were effectively down to the bare bones of our squad. And a couple of players had to fill unfamiliar roles. But we still had plenty of pressure and chances. And really, we ought to have been able to make more of the opportunities which came our way. It was disappointing we didn't win, but one point is always welcome. And it keeps us going the right way." Both sides had opportunities to have made a scoring impact inside the first 10 minutes. For Boston, Paul Fewings seized on hesitancy by Matassa. He dithered over dealing with a back-pass, but who was quick enough to save well at Fewings' feet. In response, Martin Randall fired wide of the home goal and then Steve Perkins saw a header flash inches too high from a free-kick wide on the left by Nick Roddis. Boston hit back again and in the 13th minute Ken Charlery was at full stretch when firing over from a threaded pass by Jim Dick.

The visitors, though, answered once more when Perkins tried his luck from distance, but his effort flew straight at Paul Bastock. The Pilgrims upped the tempo as the first half progressed with Charlery and Mark Rawle both bringing good saves from Matassa - the first chance following a particularly flowing move involving Dick and Peter Costello. More Boston pressure towards the interval saw a 37th minute opening arrive for Charlery who twisted in the area only for his effort to be blocked on the line by Steve West. Next Rawle seized onto another bad back-pass, but completely lost his bearings with only Matassa to beat and bundled the ball hopelessly wide. Then on 41 minutes, a Paul Wilson free-kick was expertly tipped over by Matassa. Woking had early seen penalty claims waved aside when Crystal Palace loanee Chris Sharpling tumbled under Colin Hoyle's challenge after a Lee Howarth lapse had allowed Randall to find space down the left and cross into the danger area. Boston exerted plenty of pressure at the start of the second half with Andrew Stanhope and Paul Fewings supplying threatening crosses from the flanks which had the visitors at full stretch to hold out. There was another intense scramble in the Woking area on 52 minutes when Fewings and Rawle both saw shots blocked before Dick's final drive deflected wide of team-mate Charlery. A corner in the 74th minute from Wilson led to more penalty box mayhem. Stanhope and Charlery both went close before the ball broke back out to Wilson whose dipping 18-yarder rattled away off the bar. Woking briefly responded with one Randall shot bringing an excellent save from Bastock while another fizzed well off target. Boston almost grabbed a late winner when substitute Anthony Elding jabbed a shot at goal, but Matassa again saved competently to secure his side a share of the spoils.

United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Costello, 3. Lodge, 4. Hoyle, 5. Howarth, 6. Wilson, 7. Stanhope, 8. Charlery (Nuttell 82), 9. Fewings (Lucas 65), 10. Rawle (Elding 89), 11. Dick. Subs (not used): Gowshall, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.