Pilgrims 3-4 Bolton Wanderers
by Barbara Singleton
Goals were in plentiful supply as Boston United finally succumbed to Premiership prowess. Visitors Bolton Wanderers fielded a powerful-looking line-up, including new Japanese international recruit Akinori Nishizawa. And ultimately it was his contribution which tipped the scales in favour of the Lancashire outfit. The 25-year-old - on loan from J-League side Cerezo Osaka after an unhappy seven-month stint in Spain with Espanyol - helped himself to a debut hat-trick in an encounter of epic see-saw proportions. Chances frequently arrived at both ends in a roller-coaster clash, the pattern being set in the opening 10 minutes when first a Per Frandsen drive for Bolton was deflected away by Mark Monington. And in reply, visiting keeper Steve Banks got down well to smother a low drive by Daryl Clare. Boston showed plenty of free-flowing passing precision in the opening phases and SIMON WEATHERSTONE tested Banks after good crossfield work by Jamie Cook, Mike Marsh, Mark Angel and Clare. But the same sharp-shooter drew first blood on 18 minutes when blasting home from 20 yards after a Marsh free-kick had been partially cleared. The visitors hit back with ex-Pilgrim David Norris blazing over and then Paul Bastock denying Michael Ricketts with a dramatic scrambling save. But in the 28th minute Bolton drew level when NISHIZAWA rifled in after Ricketts and Norris had seen efforts blocked. Eleven minutes later the dose was repeated when NISHIZAWA converted again, this time stroking in a cross by Dean Holden.
In between the goals, Boston might have netted again, but Gez Murphy headed fractionally wide from an Andy Lodge cross - the latter putting in an outstanding display at left-back for the full 90 minutes. Boston drew level on 55 minutes when SIMON WEATHERSTONE netted again, this time tapping in at the far post after a Mark Clifford centre had eluded colleague Gez Murphy and keeper Banks alike. Wanderers replied with Simon Charlton forcing Monington into a goalline clearance before NISHIZAWA completed his treble when nudging in a Bo Hansen cross on 63 minutes. But back came Boston to level at 3-3 with MONINGTON heading in from a Marsh corner despite Frandsen's attempts to clear off the line. The goal-feast was completed in the 75th minute when FRANDSEN fired high past Paul Bastock after meeting a tidy pass from Nishizawa. Boston almost squared the issue again in the dying throes. But a fierce drive by substitute Carl Heggs was brilliantly turned aside by Banks.
Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Lodge, 4. R Weatherstone, 5. Monington, 6. S Weatherstone (Costello 77), 7. Angel (Brown 66), 8. Marsh, 9. Murphy (Heggs 66), 10. Clare (Town 82), 11. Cook. Subs (not used): Gould, Rusk, Joyce.
Bolton Wanderers team: 1. Banks, 2. Holden, 3. Charlton, 4. Warhurst, 5. Whitlow (Buchanan 83), 6. McKinley (O'Hare 77), 7. Nishizawa (Baldicchino 80), 8. Norris (Ryan 85), 9. Ricketts (Morini 87), 10. Frandsen (Wheatcroft 87), 11. Hansen (Downey 80). Sub not used: Williams.
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.