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Cheltenham Town 1-0 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

Paul Gascoigne finally made his League debut for Boston United, coming on from the subs' bench for the last ten minutes. But he could make no difference to the result, a 1-0 defeat which left his team still searching for their first away win of the season. Another new face in the Boston side was goalkeeper Nathan Abbey's older brother Zema, signed on-loan from Premiership side Norwich City the day before. In a foul littered game that saw six bookings - five of them for Boston players, Cheltenham had most of the possession. Their former Forest Green Rovers hitman Kayode Odejayi had an excellent game that saw Cheltenham boss John Ward singing his praises after the match. Odejayi's first shot at goal came after just 14 seconds when his long-range effort went wide of the right post. Despite winning a few corners, Boston chances were few and far between. An overhead kick by Zema Abbey that flew over the bar after twenty minutes was probably the closest they came to scoring in the first half.

The second half started with chances at both ends. First a lobbed effort from 25 yards out by John Melligan required a save by Nathan Abbey. Then a Jason Lee header from a Simon Rusk cross brought the Cheltenham keeper into the action. Cheltenham took the lead after 57 minutes when the aptly named Jamie VICTORY headed home a cross from the left wing by David Bird. Seven minutes later Boston came close to equalising when a shot by Simon Rusk had to be tipped around the post by Shane Higgs in the Cheltenham goal. With time running out, Steve Evans rang the changes. First bringing on Danny Thomas for Lee Thompson, then Paul Gascoigne and Martin Carruthers for Courtney Pitt and Jason Lee respectively. But it was Cheltenham who finished the stronger, their best effort being an inswinging corner from Martin Devaney that required a goal-line clearance from Tom Bennett.

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Greg Strong, Paul Ellender, Tom Bennett, Simon Rusk, Lee Thompson (Danny Thomas 73), Jason Lee (Martin Carruthers 81), Zema Abbey, Courtney Pitt (Paul Gascoigne 81). Subs not used: Paul Bastock, Gareth Jelleyman.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2004.