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Scunthorpe United 1-1 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

Manager Steve Evans finally had his trio of strikers fully fit and available. However, his midfield was missing Chris Holland and Mark Greaves, so rather than play with three up front, he decided to move Clare back to the right side of midfield and revert to a 4-4-2 formation. Defender Greg Strong returned to the subs' bench after sterling performances as an emergency striker for the last four games. Scunthorpe have been off the boil in recent games, having only picked up one win in their previous six League games prior to this match. The home side however had the better of the early chances. After Andy Kirk headed Kevin James' cross over the bar in the seventh minute, Scunthorpe began to string together a series of attacking moves. Following a corner by Peter Beagrie, Nathan Abbey made a good save as Ian Baraclough attempted to find the goal with an acrobatic overhead kick that took a deflection off David Noble's hand. Former Iron man Paul Ellender picked up a booking for a foul on Paul Hayes, and from the resulting free-kick Baraclough shot wide of the right post. Steve Torpey then saw Abbey push his shot on to the bar before Ellender booted the ball clear. A few minutes later Paul Hayes had a good chance inside the box, but once again Abbey made a smart save. In the remainder of the half the action petered out with the referee frequently having to stop the game for offside or fouls. Jason Lee and Danny Thomas for Boston and Lee Ridley for Scunthorpe found their names added to the referee's list of yellow cards.

At half time Paul Ellender was replaced by Greg Strong after Ellender was found to have a badly swollen knee. As is often the case, Boston began the second half strongly. Danny Thomas was picked out by Kevin James and he fired in a powerful shot across the face of the goal. On 57 minutes Boston took the lead. A long punt downfield by Austin McCann was met by Jason LEE who looped a well placed header into the top right corner of the net. The lead only lasted three minutes. Beagrie broke down the left wing, beat some Boston defenders with some neat footwork before crossing to Andy BUTLER whose powerful header gave Abbey no chance. Both sides had chances to win the game as the match came to its conclusion. Jason Lee saw a volley deflected for a corner, then a good run by David Noble ended with his shot being well saved by Paul Musselwhite, despite picking up a deflection off Andy Crosby. At the other end a header from Torpey was only inches wide of the post. Then Abbey saved another header from Richard Kell. Right at the death, substitute Lee Thompson almost snatched the points with a long range shot that was just too high. After the match Steve Evans commented: "Last week we deserved a point that we didn't get against Swansea when Trundle dived. That might have cost us a play-off place. But the point we got here today might just be the difference that will get us one."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Paul Ellender (Greg Strong 46), Simon Rusk, Kevin James, David Noble, Daryl Clare (Lee Thompson 82), Andy Kirk (David Staff 87), Jason Lee, Danny Thomas. Subs not used: Matt O'Halloran, Steve Melton.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2005.