Pilgrims 1-0 Altrincham
The "Kids for Free" scheme has certainly been a success. It has produced three wins in three games as well as boosting the gates and giving youngsters a free taste of the joys of supporting the Pilgrims. The game itself was not the most exciting. It really only came to life in the last twenty minutes after United had scored. The Boston starting line-up saw Danny Marshall in for suspended Chris Withe, with Paul Watts and Martin Filson playing up-front, just ahead of Mark Melson who has returned from his loan-spell at Holbeach Town. Paul Cavell, Chris Aiken and Simon Bailey were available on the subs bench if required. The first half was fairly uneventful. Not too surprisingly Altrincham were looking a bit jaded after playing two games in midweek. Boston had lots of possession but were unable to make it pay. Martin Filson had a good chance early on, but showed he is more suited to his role as a defender by screwing his shot well wide. Steve Applebly was the only other player who came close to scoring in the first half. He had two chances. For the first he nearly benefitted from a defensive mistake by Matt Dickens in the Altrincham goal, who flapped at a cross from Andrew Stanhope, but the ball bounced straight back to the keeper before Appleby could control it. The second chance was a good long range shot that curled just wide of the top right hand corner of the goal. There were no substitutions at half time but within ten minutes Altrincham had replaced Nathan Comley-Excell and Danny Adams with Matt McNeil and Martin Faulkner.
Ten minutes later Boston went into the lead. Martin Filson threaded a pass through the Altrincham defence which gave Paul Watts a clear run down the right. He went wide and then put in a perfect cross for Steve APPLEBY to fire into the corner of the net from just inside the area. The game then started to get niggardly. Trouble had already been brewing earlier when Martin Filson had to be physically restrained by the referee after objecting to the attentions of Mark Maddox. Paul Cavell came on for Paul Watts and almost immediately became involved in a fight with Mick Carmody and a minute later he got booked for a retaliating challenge on Faulkner. As full time approached, Boston seemed to have clinched the match when Melson was brought down by the keeper as he ran into the box, and the referee signalled a penalty. However, the referee eventually spotted the linesman waving his flag and after consultation changed the decision to an Altrincham free-kick. Altrincham then threw everything forward and twice came close to equalising. Two attacks in particular resulted in desperate goalmouth scrambles and if Greg Fee had not been on top form an equaliser would surely have been scored. There was much relief when the final whistle blew and Boston secured the win to ensure the runners-up spot.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Danny Marshall, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Filson, 6. Martin Hardy, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Paul Watts, 10. Mark Melson, 11. Len Curtis, 12. Chris Aiken, 14. Paul Cavell, 15. Simon Bailey.