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Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Pilgrims

Nationwide League

by Barbara Singleton

Boston United’s feeble away form took another downward twist when high-riding Doncaster cashed in fully to bolster their own promotion aspirations. Three goals conceded with nothing in response merely served to provide another afternoon to forget, leaving United simply to contemplate a record of just five points gained from 10 Third Division fixtures outside of York Street. The final scoreline of 3-0 looked emphatic enough. And overall on the balance of play, it was probably a fair reflection of the match. But for the first 30 minutes, things were certainly tight - the match having started in scrappy fashion before settling into some sort of coherent pattern. Of the opportunities which did arrive, the best fell Doncaster’s way. First, Mark Greaves was forced to make a last-ditch headed clearance from a J J Melligan cross and then Paul Bastock comfortably gathered a Paul Green header. Boston hit back when Neil Redfearn seized on a loose ball before firing in a 25-yarder that Andy Warrington did well to gather. Doncaster had a close call when John Doolan drilled in an effort which deflected wide off Greaves. However, the deadlock was broken in the 31st minute when Chris BROWN rose to nod the ball home from Simon Marples’ right-wing centre. Two minutes later Bastock made a great save when tipping Doolan’s 25-yarder wide. The Boston keeper then did well to clutch Michael McIndoe’s curling 20-yard free-kick. United almost equalised in the 40th minute when Redfearn clipped a 20-yard effort onto the roof of the net following a good knock-down from Adam Boyd. The second half was only five minutes old when Doolan smashed a 25-yard free-kick over after Balmer had been penalised for fouling Brown.

Boston went close again when Tom Bennett fizzed a 20-yarder goalwards only to see the ball flash wide via a deflection of team-mate Boyd. There then followed a quick-fire double strike by Doncaster which effectively settled matters in the 54th minute. First MELLIGAN tapped home after Gregg Blundell had seen an initial effort well blocked by Bastock. And almost instantly Marples crossed for BROWN to nod the ball home on the goalline. Two faster goals for one side are hardly likely to occur anywhere this season. Doncaster threatened to run riot but Boston did well to restrict the damage. McIndoe played a pivotal role in all of Rovers’ best attacking moves and tested Bastock with another low effort. Green and Doolan also both saw further efforts drift off-target, before Boston started to regain some sort of loose foothold on the match, notably with Mark Angel looking lively after replacing Lee Thompson. Redfearn remained Boston’s primary goal threat and fired in efforts on four occasions as the Pilgrims looked for an unlikely route back into the game. Sandwiched between Redfearn’s excellent range of close calls was a Beevers header which flew just over following a left-wing corner from Angel. However, Boston’s luck was summed up when Warrington made an excellent stop to deny Graeme Jones’ downward header and with the loose ball just evaded Redfearn and substitute Peter Duffield and allowed Doncaster the chance to clear. Bastock made two good late saves to keep the damage limited, using his legs to stop Leo Fortune-West and then parrying the ball away from McIndoe’s rising effort.

United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Beevers, Greaves, Balmer, Chapman; L Thompson (Angel 56), Bennett (Rusk 60), Ellender, Redfearn; Jones, Boyd (Duffield 66). Subs (not used): Sutch, Croudson (gk).

Match report copyright © Barbara Singleton, 2003.