Bamber Bridge 2-2 Pilgrims
All things considered this was not too bad a result. After four losses in a row a draw comes as a welcome relief, especially when the team is missing the heart of its defence and the strike force consists of two players close to their use by date. Up against a team facing a relegation battle, with both sides desperate for points, it was always going to be tougher than it appeared. With Barrow losing convincingly against Emley, who they have to play again next week, it might not quite be all over yet!
It was very encouraging to see that despite missing both Greg Fee (suspended) and Martin Hardy (injured) the team did not fall apart at the back. Joby Gowshall, Chris Withe, Len Curtis and Martin Filson all did well in defence and Paul Bastock made shot stopping look deceptively easy. Andrew Stanhope, Steve Appleby and Paul Cavell all played brilliantly and Simon Armstrong played his usual infuriating alternating mix of the sublime and the inept. Leigh Taylor, who came on for the last ten minutes as a replacement for Chris Cook, also looked an outstanding prospect. He certainly showed enough skill to justify a full ninety minutes in the near future. The only real disappointment was Martin Filson, who played some excellent football, but got booked twice and was thus sent off again. Even though the referee came from Barrow, Filson could have no real complaints about either booking. Chris Withe might feel more aggrieved as he was booked five minutes from time for some innocuous shirt tugging on the edge of the area. Two Bamber Bridge players also saw the yellow card. Eaves was booked for scything down Simon Armstrong in the first half and Green was booked for tripping Cavell as he broke away down the left wing towards the end of the match. Greg Fee was also repremanded by the referee, for questioning his decisions from the touchline, and was dismissed from the dugout fifteen minutes before the end.
Boston twice had to come from behind. Bamber Bridge got their first goal via a VICKERS header from a cross from the right after just eleven minutes. The equaliser came eight minutes from half time when Chris Withe broke through the middle, passed the ball out to Stanhope on the right wing who whipped in a great cross to a grateful Paul CAVELL to hammer into the back of the net. This made up for a miss from a Stanhope corner a few minutes earlier.
The second half had a similar story. This time Bamber Bridge scored seven minutes into the half. A cross from the left found MADDOCK unmarked in the centre to head into an open net. The equaliser came ten minutes later with a bizarre goal by Steve APPLEBY. He put in a cross from the left edge of the area that looked as if it was going straight into the hands of Martin Jones in the Bamber Bridge goal. But the keeper mistimed his jump and the ball floated over his head into the top corner of the net. This was only justice as two minutes earlier Chris Cook had a goal disallowed after Jones had knocked the ball onto him and the ball had ricochetted into the net. Simon Armstrong had a chance to put the Pilgrims into the lead when Chris Withe knocked the ball through to him but he shot straight at the goalkeeper. After Filson had been sent off, eight minutes from time, United survived a few anxious moments but managed to hold on for the draw.
The attendance for this match was just 281, but did not include a few enterprising individuals who watched it over the fence from the roof of their garden shed alongside the ground!
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Andrew Stanhope, 5. Martin Filson, 6. Danny Marshall, 7. Simon Armstrong, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Chris Cook, 10. Paul Cavell, 11. Len Curtis, 12. Leigh Taylor, 14. Ross Hewson, 15. Chris Aiken.