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Pilgrims 2-2 Mansfield Town

Coca-Cola League

Boston United are still looking for their first League win of the season. With dwindling crowds - this game's attendance was 506 down on last season's home match against Mansfield, mounting losses and delays and opposition to the club's plans for relocation, there must be some doubts creeping in about the long-term viability of sustaining the club's position in the Football League. Boston made one change to the starting line-up over the side that was knocked out of the Carling Cup by Sheffield United in midweek, Bradley Maylett coming in for Simon Rusk. New nineteen year old loan-signing Ian Ross was given a place on the subs' bench. In the third minute Julian Joachim saw his header go just over the bar after being picked out by Maylett's cross from the right. Former Pilgrim Gareth Jelleyman then produced a header at the other end, but it was easily saved by Nathan Abbey. Danny THOMAS put Boston in front in the ninth minute when he fired home after latching on to a headed flick-on by Jason Lee from a long punt downfield by Abbey. Mansfield now pressed in search of an equaliser. Lee Canoville did well to block a shot by Chris Beardsley. Then a long range effort by Giles Coke was just wide after deflecting off David Noble. Mansfield got their equaliser from the penalty spot on 26 minutes after Jason Lee fouled Rhys Day. Richie BARKER blasted the spot kick home, giving Abbey no chance. Boston restored their lead eight minutes later via a header from Alan WHITE following a free kick by Maylett delivered towards a clutch of players at the back post.

A superb save by Kevin Pressman prevented a header from Lee putting Boston further in front soon after the start of the second half. Mansfield now attacked and Barker headed a cross from Jelleyman wide. Then Coke lost his marker in the box before firing his shot onto the crossbar. Paul Ellender appeared to have extended Boston's lead when he forced the ball home, but the referee disallowed it after spotting a handball. Play then switched to the other end and Mansfield scored through Simon BROWN with a drive from the edge of the area. Steve Evans responded by bringing on Noel Whelan for Jason Lee and Ian Ross for Stewart Talbot. Boston saw three penalty claims turned down by referee Chris Foy. The first was a shot by Ross that seemed to be handled, then Joachim was brought down by Jake Buxton. After Joachim was replaced by Mark Greaves for the last five minutes, Greaves himself was knocked over. Mansfield held on, so it is now seven League games without a win for Boston - the longest winless run in the club's short League history. After the match Steve Evans said: "I think his name's Charlie - the referee - "Big Time". He's come with that impression. For reasons only known to that man, and Carlton possibly, he didn't give a penalty."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Canoville, Paul Ellender, Alan White, Austin McCann, Stewart Talbot (Ian Ross 76), David Noble, Brad Maylett, Julian Joachim (Mark Greaves 85), Jason Lee (Noel Whelan 72), Danny Thomas. Subs not used: Ben Futcher, Chris Wright.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox 2005.