Pilgrims 0-1 Lincoln City
by Barbara Singleton
A solitary Paul Mayo second half penalty settled the destiny of derby day points at York Street as Boston United succumbed to county rivals Lincoln City in a few-frills, hard-hitting and somewhat dour encounter. It was a match which attracted the Pilgrims biggest crowd (5,708) since becoming a Football League club, but which still fell 900 short of a sell-out. But the fare on offer seldom matched the expectation from the terraces and stands. Lincoln arguably started the brighter of the two sides and forced a couple of corners as well as seeing striker Simon Yeo denied by a brave dash from his line by keeper Paul Bastock on his 600th senior appearance for United. Boston were generally restricted to breakaway raids and only had teasing - and at the same time unrewarding - crosses from Peter Duffield and Neil Redfearn to show for their efforts as City keeper Alan Marriott spent most of the opening 20 minutes as a spectator. On the half-hour mark, though, both sides showed more penetration. First Gary Fletcher whipped over a cross for Lincoln which Lee Beevers somehow scrambled clear. Then at the other end Marriott brought off a sprawling save from a skimming 20-yarder by Duffield. In the 32nd minute more Boston pressure yielded a shooting chance for Redfearn, but he fired too high. In the minutes before half-time, Lincoln were the dominant force and several waves of pressure had Boston back-pedalling to hold on, particularly in one goalmouth melee which almost saw Yeo and Fletcher get in telling finishes.
Then Ben Futcher tested Bastock after being set up by a cross from Mark Bailey. Both sides created half chances at the start of the second half with City substitute Marcus Richardson firing straight at Bastock and then, at the other end, Redfearn seeing a low effort gathered by Marriott. What proved the days pivotal moment came on 61 minutes when Paul Ellender nudged into Fletcher just inside the home area and sent the Lincoln man tumbling. Referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot and Bastock was helpless to keep out a thunderbolt finish by MAYO. Bostons problems were intensified three minutes later when Ben Chapman lunged in on Paul Morgan and saw red for a second bookable offence to leave home hopes potentially in tatters. But United creditably showed great resolve and managed to lift their game tempo, particularly with the introduction of striker Graeme Jones who kept the Lincoln rearguard busy, notably with Morgan and Futcher being commanding figures. Half-chances came and went as the Pilgrims pressurised the Lincoln back line. But it all proved to no avail and City might have doubled their victory margin late on with effective breaks. But Boston were relieved to see wayward finishes from Richardson and Fletcher when good opportunities opened up.
United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Hogg, Ellender, Beevers, Chapman; Weatherstone (Jones 62), Rusk, Greaves, Redfearn (Angel 78); Boyd, Duffield. Subs (not used): Bennett, Hocking, Croudson.