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Pilgrims 1-1 Manchester United


by Barbara Singleton

Honours ended even when the glamour name of Manchester United graced the York Street home of Boston United. There were no superstar Premiership first team names on view, but the Reds' under-19s squad almost certainly contained enough blossoming talent to suggest the Old Trafford giants have a good production line for the future. The likes of keeper David Moran, defender Alan Tate, midfielder David Fox and front line duo Daniel Nardiello and Matthew Williams all seem names to look out for at the top level in a few years' time. From Boston's point of view, it was an excellent exercise - competitive action against quality opposition and in front of a massive crowd, a sell-out attendance of more than 5,000. Pilgrims boss Steve Evans said: "It was a remarkable night. We always knew they would bring a young side. But they have talent in abundance, whatever age they might be. I am sure their youngsters would have beaten most non-league sides. But we did well, despite the fact that a lot of our players are still getting to know each other. I thought Mark Monington and Paul Bastock in particular were immense. And it shouldn't be forgotten that by the end of the game we had several kids of our own out on the park. Hopefully the massive support which came along will have liked what they saw and will want to come back for more." Manchester youth coach David Williams said: "Boston did us proud. The match was everything our lads needed. They don't often get a chance to play outside their own age level. But this was a good test for them in front of a big crowd and against senior players, many of whom have played in the Football League." Boston carved out the first chance with Daryl Clare swivelling well to control a deep free-kick from Bastock, but fired inches wide of the target. Later on, a curling free-kick out on the left by Mike Marsh just grazed the head of Ross Weatherstone before drifting wide. The youthful visitors responded with Gary Sampson scuffing an effort wide and then the impressively skilful Williams driving straight at Bastock.

In the 15th minute Clare flicked a shot past a post after Monington had headed on a long throw by Mark Clifford. Then 11 minutes later came another excellent opening for the Pilgrims. A Marsh corner culminated in Simon Weatherstone seeing a fierce drive expertly parried away by keeper Moran. Seconds later Gez Murphy headed over. The Manchester youngsters then enjoyed their own period of ascendancy, notably in the 31st minute when Bastock amazingly pulled off three stupendous, quickfire saves by Williams, Nardiello and Ben Muirhead - all inside a frantic 15 seconds. But the Reds were not to be denied. And they took the lead in the 45th minute when MUIRHEAD cut in from the right, evaded two defenders and then smacked a rising left-foot drive into the top corner. Early in the second half, Boston upped the tempo in a bid to level matters. On 54 minutes Clifford crossed to Clare, but his shot was hacked off the line by John Rankin. However, from the resultant corner, the ball was put in by Andy Lodge for ROSS WEATHERSTONE to head home. Substitute Anthony Elding then fired high and wide when an opportunity arose on 64 minutes while 15 minutes later another excellent save by Moran prevented Marsh from finding the net. Back at the other end, it took another brilliant double block by Bastock to deny Williams and Nardiello. Amid a plethora of substitutions late on, Boston introduced three players from their new YTS ranks. And all performed creditably in such exalted company.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Lodge, 4. R Weatherstone (Wormham 65), 5. Monington, 6. S Weatherstone (Rusk, 72), 7. Costello (Brown, 54), 8. Marsh (Roach 83), 9. Murphy (Elding 54), 10. Clare, 11. Angel (Cook 65). Subs not used: Conroy, Town, Gould.

Manchester United team: 1. David Moran, 2. Andy Taylor (John Cogger 88), 3. Kris Taylor (Chris Humphreys 80), 4. David Fox, 5. Alan Tate, 6. Paul Tierney, 7. Ben Muirhead (Kalam Moonlaruck 83), 8. Gary Sampson, 9. Daniel Nardello, 10. Matthew Williams (Colin Heath 74), 11. John Rankin. Subs not used: James Joysey, Steven Clegg.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.