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Abbey helps the boys in blue

Cheltenham Town 3-0 Pilgrims

Coca-Cola League

Boston United began this match in search of their first League win of the season and finished it not even close to finding it. Manager Steve Evans must be wondering what he has to do to get his side back to winning ways after assembling what many believe to be the strongest collection of players to ever represent the club. With only six wins to his credit in twenty-nine competitive matches in 2005, early indications are that it will be a relegation dog-fight this season rather than play-off dreams. Evans made a curious team selection when he began without Brad Maylett and Danny Thomas, preferring Gavin Johnson and Austin McCann and reverting to a 4-4-2 formation. Alan White also came in for Mark Greaves. Boston began brightly. David Noble saw his shot from the right side of the area parried by Cheltenham keeper Shane Higgs. Then Chris Holland had a crack at goal, but it was just wide of the right post. Cheltenham took the lead on 19 minutes when Damian SPENCER got on the end of a cross from the right wing by John Melligan to score from close range. The goal spurred the Robins on. John Finnigan shot wide, then Grant McCann saw his free-kick from 25 yards out clip the bar. David Noble then struck the ball just over the bar after receiving a good pass from Holland. Cheltenham killed off Boston's hopes of gaining any points from the match with two quick goals just before half-time.

First Jamie VICTORY looped a header from Grant McCann's cross into the top left corner. Then Ben FUTCHER managed to deflect Kayode Odejayi's cross past his own keeper from close range. Cheltenham almost went four up on the stroke of half-time, but Craig Armstrong's header rebounded off the post. For the second half Brad Maylett started in place of Chris Holland. Both sides created good chances. A free-kick by Melligan was just too high. Then Higgs had to make a good save to deny Joachim. Odejayi saw his chip shot graze the bar. Then Danny Thomas - on for Johnson, saw his shot tipped over the bar by Higgs. Higgs then made two more heroic saves, first to deny Maylett, then to keep out a drive by Jason Lee. Simon Rusk, who had come on in place of Stewart Talbot, missed a sitter from close range after being picked out by a cross from Joachim. Two minutes from time, Ben Futcher was sent off for a second bookable offense to complete a thoroughly miserable day for the Pilgrims and their travelling support. After the match Steve Evans said: "They showed a lot of spirit second half, a lot of committment. We've got to go back on the training ground and work on the defensive side. Our attacking side is decent. With a bit of luck in front of goal we will get goals."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Canoville, Ben Futcher, Austin McCann, Alan White, Chris Holland (Brad Maylett 46), David Noble, Stewart Talbot (Simon Rusk 61), Gavin Johnson (Danny Thomas 61), Julian Joachim, Jason Lee. Subs not used: Daryl Clare, Chris Wright.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox 2005. Photograph copyright © Pat Everitt 2005.