Pilgrims 4-1 Gresley Rovers
Dr Martens League
United started this game as clear favourites. Gresley, managed by former Nottingham Forest and Manchester United forward Gary Birtles, had picked up just two points in their previous twelve league games. The Pilgrims however, started the game with a new face up front. Mark Rawle, a young striker signed midweek from Conference side Rushden and Diamonds, wore the No. 10 shirt in place of Dave Venables who had picked up an injury in the cup game against Rothwell. Almost from the start it was clear that Steve Evans had made an excellent signing. Rawle showed an explosive turn of speed on the break and when he had the ball at his feet he had no qualms about taking on the Gresley defence, often with success. He was also pretty good in the air. It was however his more senior scoring partner, Matt CARMICHAEL, who broke the deadlock with a headed goal after 17 minutes. Three minutes later Peter Costello almost increased the lead, but saw his shot cleared off the line. On the half hour Gresley had a brief period when they looked threatening. Len Curtis had to make a timely interception after a Gresley player had dribbled right through the Boston defence. Then Joby Gowshall had to make a goal line clearance after Paul Bastock had been deceived by a free kick from the edge of the area. Boston dominated the final fifteen minutes of the half, scoring two goals to finish off the game as a contest. Mark Rawle saw a shot go right across the face of the goal and just wide. Then Ian STRINGFELLOW had no problems in firing the ball into the back of the net after a Richard Mason cross found its way through to him unmarked.
Stanhope and Carmichael both came close to scoring with headers before Rawle produced a moment of magic by trying to take on the entire Gresley defence and almost winning. RAWLE finally got his name on the scoresheet just before half time when his head met Man-of-the-Match Gary Child's cross and the ball flew into the net. The Pilgrims made it 4-0 seven minutes into the second half. Rawle beat the Gresley offside trap and fired in a powerful shot. It was parried by the Gresley keeper into the path of a grateful CARMICHAEL who took his chance with ease. Just as it seemed the game would turn into a rout, luck began to go Gresley's way. Carmichael saw a good header saved. Paul Watts came on for Curtis and Carmichael dropped back into the gap in the defence. Watts, Stringfellow, Rawle and Hardy all came close to scoring before Gresley got a surprise goal fifteen minutes from the end. FOWKES beat the offside trap and calmly slotted the ball beneath the advancing Bastock. Charles and Melson replaced Costello and Carmichael and the game finished with little incident. Gresley almost scored an undeserved second goal right at the end, but Hardy headed the ball away after Bastock had been left stranded.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Len Curtis, 4. Ian Stringfellow, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Gary Childs, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Peter Costello, 9. Matt Carmichael, 10. Mark Rawle, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Paul Watts, 14. Steve Charles, 15. Mark Melson.