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Belper Town 1-5 Pilgrims

FA Trophy

Match Report by Chris Donkin

A wet Saturday in late November - what are the options? Christmas Shopping? An afternoon in front of the telly watching one of two live rugby internationals? A 170 mile round trip to watch Boston United in an FA Trophy Qualifying Round Tie? No contest really! Road Atlas, Non- League Directory and son into the car and ... here we go, here we go, here we go!!

The weather in Derbyshire was no better than the weather in Boston. Conditions very overcast on what the Scots call a dreich day. The pitch started as a gluepot and deteriorated throughout the 90 minutes. It was a day for hard men who were prepared to put their foot in and throw themselves about on a muddy surface. Thankfully although United were wearing green they were not naive in this respect.

Despite the fact that the Pilgrims were clearly "up for it" they fell behind after less than two minutes. The reshaped United back line were caught square and GALLOWAY scored smartly from twelve yards. No panic however and Boston were level five minutes later with a goal made in Lincoln. Joby Gowshall was an apprentice professional with Lincoln City and obviously has been taught the effectiveness of the long throw by John Beck and his staff. His prodigous hurl was met at the near post by new boy Filson who flicked on for Leroy CHAMBERS to net from close range.

Following a period of sustained pressure United took the lead after 25 minutes. Belper failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Appleby 20 yards from goal. He fired in an on-target shot, hard and low, that struck a defender and bounced out to CHARLES who fired home from the edge of the box. Boston continued to dominate territorially and at the other end the Great Bald One slumbered peacefully.

In every one-sided match the underdog always has a spell.

Belper's young side dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half and caused the United back three some problems. However, Boston's third goal on 62 minutes settled the issue. Chris Withe took a wicked left footed corner from the right (is there a better dead ball kicker in non-league football than Chris Withe? and why do Boston not score more goals from his near post corners?) chaos ensued as the keeper failed to collect the ball cleanly. Gowshall and Filson were both involved, but it was CHARLES who forced the ball home from close range.

CHARLES completed a rare hat-trick 12 minutes from time when he converted from the spot after Gowshall was ajudged to have been impeded inside the box. 4-1 up and coasting the Pilgrims took the opportunity to give the subs a game. Watts, Stanhope and Cavell replaced Filson, Charles and Chambers in the last few minutes. Charles was deservedly given a rousing ovation from the travelling support when he came off. With four minutes to go GOWSHALL completed the scoring with a rasping long range shot that gave the keeper no chance.

A terrific all round performance. Recently critics of the side have observed that the Pilgrims lost to Ilkeston in the FA Cup because the Doc Martens' team "wanted it more". No such observation can be made about this match. From the first whistle United were the hungrier outfit and played the full match with a controlled aggression. This fighting spirit was complemented by a good passing performance. The new boys, Filson and Curtis, have settled in well and the Irishman (Len Curtis) in particular looks to be a very accomplished player. The change to a three man defence allows Gowshall and Withe to get forward more often and the whole team looked to have a better balance. Bring on Halifax at York Street in the first round proper!

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Charles, 7. Danny Marshall, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Martin Filson, 10. Leroy Chambers, 11. Leonard Curtis, 12. Paul Cavell, 14. Paul Watts, 15. Andrew Stanhope