Kingstonian 0-0 Pilgrims
by Echo Reporter
Half the job done, but there's still a tough assignment to negotiate. Boston United ensured they retained an interest in this season's FA Cup with a well-organised and battling display to shackle Nationwide Conference high-flyers Kingstonian. A gritty 0-0 draw chiselled out by the Pilgrims means that Wednesday night at York Street could be an extra special occasion. That's when United will attempt to make home advantage tell in their fourth qualifying round replay. And if success comes their way, it will mean a high-profile trip to face Nationwide League Division Two promotion-chasers Luton Town in the first round proper on October 30. While talk of such a tie possibility is very much on the lips of Pilgrims' followers, manager Steve Evans is not getting carried away with hypothetical fixtures - preferring instead to concentrate on trying to overcome Kingstonian. He said: "It's all very well looking ahead to what the first round might offer. But we won't be giving that a thought because it's only our replay against Kingstonian which matters at the moment. We turned in an excellent performance against them on Saturday and all the players deserve credit for the way they battled. It was a huge improvement on the previous week when we lost at Leigh. But the job is still only half done. And I will be only too happy to hand out full praise if we can get through to round one on Wednesday." Reflecting on United's solid display in Surrey on Saturday, Evans said: "I think we did really well and restricted them to possibly only a couple of really dangerous chances. But Paul Bastock again showed what a terrific keeper he is with two brilliant saves. But that's the sort of form we have come to expect of him. Elsewhere I thought we looked reasonably assured in defence and the midfield and front players all worked hard. We had a few chances of our own and might even have been a touch unlucky not to have won it at the first attempt."
Most of United's travelling army of around 300-plus fans in the 1,188-strong crowd would probably agree with him - particularly with two notable close calls still lingering in the memory. The first came on 24 minutes when a low corner from Paul Wilson was flicked on at the near post by David Rennie, only for home defender Colin Luckett to scramble the ball off the line. The other emerged in the 83rd minute when Mark Rawle wriggled into the home area and fired a shot past keeper Steve Farrelly, but also a whisker beyond the far post. These were the best Boston moments - but other half chances materialised at regular intervals. In the first half Rawle scooped a shot over the bar and later a Mickey Nuttell looping header was comfortably gathered by Farrelly. Then came further close calls with shots from Gary Childs, Nuttell and Rawle. After the break, clear opportunities for Boston were more at a premium, although Peter Costello and Rawle both brought Farrelly into further action. The home side, naturally, also had bright moments of their own as they tried to make their higher status count against the Dr Martens League leaders. Early on, Phil Wingfield twice made sure Bastock was alert to danger. And just before the break the United keeper did supremely well to tip over another Wingfield close-range effort that took an awkward deflection off Colin Hoyle. In between came a glaring miss by Tarkan Mustafa who slid in to somehow sky the ball high over the bar from two yards in front of a gaping net after a Dwight Marshall shot had skimmed past Bastock. The second half saw Bastock again deny Wingfield and Junior Kadi and then in the dying throes the United custodian also kept his composure to deal with efforts from Marshall and suspiciously offside-looking Wingfield.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Paul Wilson, 4. Colin Hoyle, 5. Peter Costello, 6. David Rennie, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Kevin Noteman, 9. Mickey Nuttell, 10. Mark Rawle, 11. Gary Childs, 12. David Norris, 14. Martin Hardy, 15. Mark Melson, 16. Ross Nicholls, 17. Gary Pawson.
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.