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Pilgrims 1-2 Stamford AFC

Lincolnshire Senior Cup

by Barbara Singleton

Boston United's hopes of lifting the Lincolnshire Senior Cup were dashed in something of a giant-killing act. The Pilgrims succumbed on home soil to Dr Martens League Eastern Division outfit Stamford whose success stemmed from goals early and late in proceedings. To add to Boston's problems, they had Richard Lucas sent-off in the dying stages after incurring two yellow cards. United's goal hero was leading scorer Mark Rawle, who netted a 56th minute equaliser and who was the source of several other threats on the visitors' goal. But in the end, Stamford were left to celebrate their cup conquest. The visitors drew inspiration from taking a third minute lead with Dennis RHULE putting them in front, heading firmly past Nick Conroy following a cross from the right by Tom Betteridge. Then in the 11th minute when Malcolm Ndekwe seized a snap-shot opportunity, but fired wide of the Boston goal. United's first concerted response came in the 18th minute when a Rawle header was scrambled clear.

Around the half-hour mark, Rawle unluckily fired wide and then the same player and colleague Micky Nuttell both saw efforts blocked by the legs of keeper Steve Corry. Stamford hit back when a 25-yard free-kick from ex-United skipper Martin Hardy flashed inches too high. Then home defender Joby Gowshall was a double goal-line clearance hero by hacking away two efforts from Jon Challinor after a mistimed kick-out by Conroy had dropped at the Stamford striker's feet. Later on Rawle fired too high and then Nuttell just missed from connecting with a cross by Andy Lodge. Boston enjoyed a phase of pressure at the start of the second half with a couple of close calls before - in the 56th minute - RAWLE bagged his 12th goal of the season when volleying home sweetly with an opportunist 14-yard shot. Rawle continued to be United's most potent threat and in the 69th minute only a brave sprawling save by Corry denied him again. Eleven minutes later Rawle diverted a Colin Hoyle volley goalwards but saw the effort scrambled away. However, Stamford - despite losing Rhule with a bad leg injury - struck back with an 81st minute winner when Challinor lofted a pass forward for NDEKWE to beat Conroy to the ball and steer into a gaping net.

United team: 1. Conroy, 2. Gowshall, 3. Lodge, 4. Hoyle, 5. Howarth, 6. Fewings, 7. Stanhope (Elding 86), 8. Nuttell, 9. Costello, 10. Rawle, 11. Lucas. Subs (not used): Bettinson, Harris, Fletcher, Bastock (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.