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Yeovil Town 2-0 Pilgrims

Nationwide League

by Barbara Singleton

Another away-day, another disappointment for Boston United and the team’s supporters. Defeat at Huish Park was another huge source of dismay for all concerned, not least because it left the Pilgrims precariously perched just above the two “drop slots” in the Third Division. Despite changes in personnel and an alteration in playing system, Boston still couldn’t conjure up a success formula as they were undone by two first half goals, the first of which was a contentious penalty decision. Improvements after the break brought, perhaps, a crumb of comfort. But the pointless return still spelled gloom all round. The reshaped United team, with Stuart Balmer, Ryan Clarke and Graeme Jones included in the starting line-up, negotiated the early exchanges fairly well. although an eighth minute dipping drive from long range by home midfielder Lee Johnson almost caught Paul Bastock out with the ball rattling the visitors’ bar. In the 14th minute Yeovil again tested the United rearguard when Kevin Gall got on the end of a Johnson cross but his header was held by Bastock. Boston responded with a few attacking flurries but without any end result. The Pilgrims fell behind in controversial circumstances on 20 minutes with what seemed a harsh penalty award against them when a linesman flagged for an apparent handball offence against Graham Potter following a centre from the left by Ronnie Bull and a subsequent Kirk Jackson header. Gavin WILLIAMS stepped up and sent Bastock the wrong way from the spot. Yeovil then kept up the attacking momentum and had the Pilgrims scrambling to defend for spells with further untaken opportunities falling to Jackson and Gall, the latter being thwarted by Bastock. It took Boston 34 minutes to hit back positively even then but Simon Weatherstone was unable to cash in fully when a Potter corner was cleared into his path by the towering figure of Hugo Rodrigues with keeper Chris Weale collecting well to defy United.

It wasn’t long, though, before the scoreline widened in favour of the home side when on 38 minutes Adam LOCKWOOD ventured forward and rose unmarked to head past Bastock from a cross from the left by Bull. United almost caved in again twice in the space of a few minutes. It took two magnificent saves by Bastock to prevent Williams and Rodrigues from extending the home advantage. At the start of the second half, Boston introduced Lee Thompson and Ben Chapman into the fray. And almost instantly there was an attacking spark as Thompson ventured forward and fired in a shot which Weale collected comfortably. And later on another solid run and shot from the same player flashed wide from long range. Yeovil replied with a shot from Gall, but Bastock again saved well. Then just after the hour mark Gall got in a cross which was met by Darren Way but Bastock was again in good saving form. Boston almost found a way back into the match when, from a Thompson 68th minute corner, Jones rose well but headed fractionally wide. The Pilgrims’ increased tempo led to Yeovil not having as much possession after the break as they had enjoyed in the first half. But it still brought nothing in the way of reward as the home side seemed content to protect their lead rather than instantly go for the killer blow. Boston kept trying to plug away in an attempt to cut the deficit and moments after coming on as an 80th minute substitute for a tiring Jones, Andy White snatched at a good chances and fired wildly over after good work by Potter and Thompson. In stoppage time, the Pilgrims almost managed a crumb of consolation, but Weatherstone’s fiercely struck free-kick just failed to find the target with Weale doing well to tip away at the expense of a corner.

United team (3-5-2): Bastock; Hocking, Balmer, Greaves; Rusk, Weatherstone, Bennett, Clarke (Chapman 46), Potter; Duffield (L Thompson 46), Jones (White 80). Subs (not used): Beevers, Croudson (gk).

Match report copyright © Barbara Singleton, 2003.