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Pilgrims 1-2 Hull City

Nationwide League

by Barbara Singleton

It was a gallant effort, but Boston United’s hopes of dealing a jot to Third Division championship-chasers Hull fell just short. The Pilgrims showed plenty of character and determination as well as great attacking intent, particularly at the start of each half. But the visitors hung on at crucial times and with a strong and competitive back line, they had a platform on which to build their eventual success. However, defeat was no disgrace for Boston and it didn’t cost them any placings in the table as they remain in 11th spot. From the outset, the Pilgrims made a good fist of things and inside the first eight minutes they carved out three good chances. First Stuart Douglas fired over after accepting a pass from Dene Cropper. Then a Danny Thomas 25-yard free-kick was tipped over by keeper Boaz Myhill before Cropper found space to accept a ball from Thomas only to shoot just wide. During this period of Boston ascendancy little was seen of the Hull attack, although Stuart Green went close with a rising angled drive from the edge of the box. However, Hull settled to their task and went ahead on 18 minutes when Paul Ellender was deemed to have handled 20 yards out in a central position and Stuart ELLIOTT fizzed a low drive into the corner of the net. Nine minutes later, more Hull pressure saw Elliott hook over the bar and then a Ben Burgess header from a Lee Marshall was held by Bastock. Boston hit back and Mark Greaves tested Myhill with a firm header from a Tom Bennett corner.

Then on 37 minutes Junior Lewis forced another good save from Bastock after Burgess had headed on a Richard Hinds set-piece. Then, with half-time approaching, Bastock had to spread himself to make a breath-taking block at point-blank range with Allsopp looking odds-on to score. Boston started the second half in purposeful fashion again and they forced Hull onto the back foot, notably with some excellent prompting work from midfield by David Noble. And in the 52nd minute the Pilgrims thought they had equalised when a Bennett free-kick was headed in unmarked by Mark Greaves only for a linesman’s raised flag to nullify the effort. Moments later Bennett cut in from the left but drilled too high with a shot on the run. And just as in the first half, Hull bided their time and broke away to grab another goal. It came in the 61st minute when the strike partnership of Burgess and ALLSOPP linked up for the latter to deliver a telling finish. But Boston refused to buckle. And on 66 minutes a Lee Beevers throw-in cause panic in the City rearguard and Paul ELLENDER swooped to smash home a low angled drive from the edge of the box to halve the deficit. Boston threw men forward in search of an equaliser and enjoyed plenty of pressure without really testing Myhill with direct efforts at goal. On the counter-punch Hull looked to exploit United’s lack of numbers at the back and came close on three occasions to putting the issue beyond doubt. But late on Bastock produced good saves to deny, in turn, Burgess, Allsopp and Green.

United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Beevers, Ellender, Greaves, Chapman (Hocking 84); Holland (Thompson 65), Bennett, Noble, Thomas; Douglas (Hurst 74), Cropper. Subs (not used): Clarke, Croudson (gk).

Match report copyright © Barbara Singleton, 2004.