Bristol Rovers 1-1 Pilgrims
by Barbara Singleton
Agonisingly Boston United were within a few minutes of netting another maximum haul of Third Division points. It was in the 87th minute that Bristol Rovers struck an equaliser from the penalty spot after the Pilgrims had led from Richard Logan's fifth goal in four games as early as the eighth minute. But even despite the late disappointment of seeing their advantage wiped out, Boston can still draw huge positives from a match which was always going to be a tough assignment. A share of the spoils kept them above Bristol and still fifth from bottom in the Third Division. And with fellow strugglers Carlisle United and Swansea City both losing, one point edged United slightly further out of the mire. However, there is still a long way to go and no-one is taking anything for granted - despite the fact that the Pilgrims have now taken seven points out of the last nine available. At Bristol's Memorial Ground, United made a bright start with Neil Redfearn firing wide after just two minutes following a knockdown from Logan. Moments later, a Stuart Douglas drive was gathered by Scott Howie after Mark Angel had crossed from the left. Boston deservedly took the lead on eight minutes when LOGAN turned and fired home on the turn after Peter Costello's throw-in had allowed Simon Weatherstone to play the ball into Logan's feet. In response for Rovers, Paul Tait headed just over from Vitalijs Astafjevs' corner on 15 minutes. Next, Kevin Street cut inside Costello before wrong-footing Paddy McCarthy and then seeing his fierce drive parried well by Paul Bastock. Astafjevs' first-time volley on 32 minutes landed just over Bastock's crossbar as Rovers sought an equaliser. Back at the other end McCarthy's ball forward found Logan who almost managed to chip Howie but the home keeper got a hand to the ball to prevent the in-form Pilgrims striker netting another.
Wayne Carlisle's shot on 44 minutes cleared the Boston bar after Street had sprayed the ball across the field following good work by ex-Lincoln defender Kevin Austin. Redfearn's stoppage time corner found an unmarked Matt Hocking but he could only direct his header over the bar. Bastock produced a fine save in the 57th minute to deny Tait and subsequent penalty appeals were turned down as bodies from both sides went tumbling in the United area. In reply for Boston, Angel's teasing 63rd minute centre evaded everyone after he had shown great skill to cut inside Danny Boxall to cross. Within four minutes, he was replaced in favour of James Gould. Howie then did well to tip a low drive wide from Weatherstone after Logan had supplied the pass to set the Pilgrims' midfielder free. More Bristol pressure then unfolded and Bastock produced a fabulous save to deny Rob Quinn on 75 minutes as the Rovers continued to press for a leveller. Boston countered once more and Redfearn's 78th minute free-kick from 20 yards flashed just wide of Howie's goal before Douglas' looping header from McCarthy's free-kick was held by the keeper. Rovers hit back instantly in an ebb-and-flow spell of action and Boxall's 20-yarder was well saved by Bastock after Astafjevs' corner was only partially cleared. Bristol, though, equalised on 87 minutes when CARLISLE coolly slotted home from the spot after Gould had pushed Astafjevs, although it was unclear whether the foul actually occurred in the area. Boston still had chances to win the match and in stoppage time, McCarthy headed inches over from Gould's corner. And then Gould's header from Weatherstone's free-kick was held by Howie as both sides eventually had to settle for a point apiece.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Hocking, 3. Chapman, 4. Redfearn, 5. McCarthy, 6. Costello, 7. Higgins, 8. Angel (Gould 66), 9. L Thompson, 10. Logan (Battersby 90), 11. S Weatherstone. Subs (not used): L Thompson, Greaves, Conroy (gk).