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Southport 3-1 Pilgrims

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Three goals in a traumatic first twenty-six minutes spelled the end of Boston United's mini-unbeaten run. The Pilgrims were hit by a quick treble-hit on their long-haul Nationwide Conference trek to Southport. And despite a battling second-half display, they found the initial setback too much to overcome. Add on a late dismissal for defender Joby Gowshall and a second-half banishment to the stands for manager Steve Evans, and it all added up to a frustrating night for United. Gowshall was red-carded for a 78th minute penalty-area foul on a clean-through Ian Arnold, whose resultant spot-kick was superbly saved by Boston keeper Paul Bastock. Evans, meanwhile, had to watch the second 45 minutes of action from a seat in the stand after being ordered away from the touchline by referee Lee Mason following an exchange of views during the interval.

From his position away from the bench, he at least saw United turn in a more composed performance than they did in the opening stages when some slack defending proved costly. In only the seventh minute Stuart WHITTAKER raced past Tim Wooding and unleashed a 20-yard drive which squeezed past Bastock, who seemed to misjudge the ball in flight. Thirteen minutes later the home lead was doubled when ARNOLD fired home unmarked after a Mike Marsh free-kick had been flicked on by Phil Bolland. In the 26th minute more misery was inflicted on Boston when Mark STUART netted from close range after the dangerous Whittaker and Arnold had split the visitors' rearguard. It was a much brighter tale for Boston after the break and they got the crumb of comfort their efforts deserved when Fewings was fouled in the area by Bolland and Paul WILSON fired home on 71 minutes. Boston continued to battle hard for further rewards, but the closest they came was when Charlery tested Dickinson with a solid header on 86 minutes.

United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Wooding, 3. Lucas, 4. Hoyle, 5. Gowshall, 6. Wilson, 7. Stanhope (Minett 46), 8. Raynor, 9. Charlery, 10. Fewings, 11. Dick. Subs (not used): Hayes, Curtis, Elding, Martin (gk).