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United thrashed

In their first serious game of the season the Pilgrims were totally outplayed by a lively looking Lincoln United in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup first round. They were beaten 5-1 and were never in the game from the start. The front line of Leroy Chambers, Paul Cavell and Phil Brown looked great, but the midfield was missing Steve Chambers, out injured, and the defence were all playing as if they were still on holiday. Chris Withe and Martin Hardy were both carrying injuries and couldn't keep up with the pace of the game and Greg Fee seemed to be totally jaded. His marking was non-existent and he was often robbed of the ball when in possession or if he tried to make a pass it usually went astray and was intercepted. Steve Appleby put in his usual battling performance. Playing alongside him was Andrew Stanhope who also had a good match and new signing Jamie Eaton who had a rather anonymous game. He didn't do anything stunning but he didn't make many mistakes either. Another new face in the starting line up was ex-Grimsby midfielder Gary Childs. He was given the right wing back role and put in a creditable performance, linking up well with the forwards, although his final pass occasionally let him down. In the game itself it was just like old times. Casey was knocking balls into Andy Gray and Darren Munton was looking good in the air. Unfortunately all three now play for Lincoln. When players leave Boston in acrimonious circumstances like Gray and Munton did last season it is not surprising that they put in sterling performances against their old club when given the opportunity. We went behind to an own goal after just three minutes. Bastock flapped at a cross from Paul Casey and deflected the ball onto a United defender who had no chance of stopping the ball bouncing into the net. Ten minutes later and we were two down. Fee was dispossessed on the edge of the area by Lincoln's Barrington Barker who's shot was parried by Bastock into the path of an incoming Andy Gray who lashed the ball into the back of an empty goal. After twenty minutes we got a goal back. Leroy Chambers made a run down the right and put in a great cross which just passed over the head of Phil Brown and Paul Cavell into the hands of the Lincoln goalkeeper. Unfortunately for him the ball slipped out of his grasp and landed at the feet of a grateful Phil Brown who doesn't miss such easy chances. On the half hour we were back to being two goals down when Darren Munton powered in a free header from a corner. For the second half Melson came on for Withe and Bastock, who apart from his usual problems with crosses had made a couple of great stops, was replaced in goal by Adam Sollitt. Neither of these substitutions had much effect as Lincoln went further ahead after Andy Barker scored with a long range shot after seventy minutes. Boston then brought on Simon Buckley, another new signing in place of Jaime Eaton. He looked quite lively and seemed keen to get the ball and run at the Lincoln defence. However Lincoln finished off the match with a final goal four minutes from the end when their No. 14 beat the offside trap and ran through to slot the ball home under the diving goalkeeper. So Boston were totally humiliated by a side in the division below them. They have a month to sort out the defence and the injury problems before the League campaign kicks off and despite this result I think they will have a pretty good side when they do finally get their act together.

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Gary Childs, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Jaime Eaton, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Paul Cavell, 11. Leroy Chambers, 12. Mark Melson, 14. Paul Watts, 15. Simon Buckley, 16. Mark Lovelace, 17. Adam Sollitt.