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The red shoes

Mansfield Town 3-2 Pilgrims

Coca Cola League

Paul Ellender made a welcome return to the side after fullfilling his two match suspension, but Jason Lee was missing as he was starting a three match suspension following his sending off last week. Schoolboy Lewis Brooks made his first start for the club after Alan White failed to recover from his back injury. A dire first half saw few chances at either end, the best opportunities falling to Mansfield. Simon Brown saw his header from an Alex Neil corner hit the cross bar and Nathan Abbey had to make a good save to deny Richie Barker after the Mansfield striker had beaten the offside trap. Just before half time Jermaine Easter headed a cross from Brad Maylett just wide. Manager Steve Evans rearranged his side during the interval, bringing on Daryl Clare and David Noble for Jermaine Easter and Danny Thomas respectively. It looked to be paying dividends when on 49 minutes Brad MAYLETT scored his third goal in as many games after getting on the end of a cross from Courtney Pitt. Boston continued to dominate and Clare should have done better when presented with a chance by Pitt, but keeper Jason White was able to make a save. The miss proved costly as Mansfield equalised in the 53rd minute when Richie BARKER was in the right place to slot home a loose ball after Abbey had parried a shot by Giles Coke.

Mansfield took the lead twelve minutes later when Callum LLOYD fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. They extended their lead on 70 minutes as Adam RUNDLE smashed home Alex Neil's cross. Boston got a goal back on 90 minutes when substitute Lee THOMPSON scored from a great through ball by Chris Holland. In stoppage time Thompson had a great chance to get an unlikely equaliser, but he shot wide. After the match Steve Evans commented: "Clare missed a sitter and within ninety seconds they've equalised. I don't think they've at any time made an opportunity today, I think we've given them some goals." So Boston United finished their away programme with just three League wins to show for their efforts on their travels all season. They are also still one point short of their lowest points won total in the League and are sitting lower than their lowest finishing position in the League. Unless more than 3200 turn up for next week's last game of the season against Rochdale they will also have recorded their lowest average attendance. Altogether it has been a pretty disappointing season after so much was promised at the start.

United team: Nathan Abbey, Dean West, Lewis Brooks (Lee Thompson 72), Paul Ellender, Austin McCann, Brad Maylett, Simon Rusk, Jermaine Easter (Daryl Clare 46), Chris Holland, Danny Thomas (David Noble 46), Courtney Pitt. Subs not used: Stephen O'Donnell, Rob Norris.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox, 2005. Photograph copyright © Pat Everitt, 2005.