Pilgrims 6-0 Shrewsbury Town
by Barbara Singleton
Wow. What a way to halt the slide! Boston United swept away the self-doubt of eight straight losses to turn the form book upside down to devastating effect. By virtue of this remarkable success, the six-shooting Pilgrims hoisted themselves off the foot of the Third Division table and dented Shrewsbury's recent improved run of just one defeat in their previous 12 fixtures. It was a stunning outcome to a day when United badly needed an inspired performance. And that is just what the players delivered. Besides the six-goal blitz they saw a Richard Logan penalty saved by Shrews' keeper Ian Dunbavin, four other efforts cleared off the line, a Stuart Douglas header smack the bar and numerous other opportunities missed. All told, it was a tale of one-way traffic - and an afternoon of relief for United boss Neil Thompson. He said: "It proved once and for all that we can compete in this division. The goals were spread around and that was pleasing, as was the clean sheet. But one result doesn't make a season and we have to kick on from here." Boston showed their attacking intent right from the start with Logan seeing Dunbavin stretch to save well following a chipped pass from the right by Simon Weatherstone. The visitors rallied briefly with a spell of pressure. But, refreshingly, Boston defended stoutly and laid the platform for the first breakthrough. It came on 12 minutes when Ben Chapman cross from the left and LOGAN swept a first-time drive beyond Dunbavin. Back at the other end, visiting striker Luke Rodgers then cut in and drilled a low angled drive towards goal. But Bastock blocked the swerving effort well with his chest. Boston regained the initiative and a succession of corners culminated in Matt Hocking seeing two headers and Logan a shot cleared off the line by Darren Moss (twice) and David Artwell respectively.
But United would not be denied and doubled their lead on 21 minutes when Shrews' defender Jason VAN BLERK intercepted a crossfield run by Mark Angel only to steer an attempted back-pass into his own net. Eight minutes later, LOGAN headed Boston's third when converting a curling, lofted pass by Weatherstone. Logan had a chance to complete his hat-trick in the 33rd minute, but saw Dunbavin save his tame spot-kick after Douglas had been bundled over by Matt Redmile. However, eight minutes later DOUGLAS got on the scoresheet to send United into a 4-0 lead with a header from a corner by the hugely influential Neil Redfearn. And it was REDFEARN who provided the next scoring touch when, on 56 minutes, he curled a 25-yard free-kick in off the foot of a post. Elsewhere after the interval, Logan was denied by Dunbavin after tenaciously dispossessing Redmile to epitomise United's all-action tempo. Shrewsbury had a chance to reduce the deficit, but Rodgers fired weakly at Bastock. Boston, though, remained in control and Dunbavin kept the score to reasonably respectable proportions with superb saves to deny Logan, Weatherstone and Alex Higgins. Another brief sortie by Shrewsbury ended with Bastock producing his second good save of the match when pushing aside a forceful shot from Ryan Lowe. But back at the other end Douglas almost netted again, looking on in anguish as his header from a Peter Costello cross bounced away off the bar. Further blocked efforts by Angel and Weatherstone followed before two substitutes combined to put the icing on Boston's cake in the final few seconds. Lee Thompson got down the right and fizzed the ball across for James GOULD to blast home from an acute angle.
United team: (4-4-2) 1. Bastock, 2. Chapman, 3. Hocking (McCarthy 62), 4. Balmer, 5. Costello, 6. Redfearn, 7. Higgins, 8. Angel (Gould 82), 9. Douglas, 10. Logan (L Thompson 67), 11. S Weatherstone. Subs (not used): Battersby, Conroy (gk).