Monday, August 17, 2009

FC United 1 Boston United 2

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Pilgrims stumble over the finish line

By Wayne Clark

Boston barely clung on to all three points after seeming in near complete control of a match they were leading by two goals on the hour mark.

This eagerly anticipated curtain-raiser to the new season took a while to spark into life with both sides looking lack-lustre in the early stages but it pulsated during a frenetic second half of end-to-end football.

The first quarter of the match saw neither side able to assert any authority with chances few and far between. The Pilgrims gradually settled, though, maintaining possession and asking questions of the home defence. Captain Lee Canoville forced a corner on 27 minutes as Sam Ashton had to move smartly to push a low left-footed effort around the foot of his right post.

Danny Davidson sent Jamie Clarke raiding down the Boston left a few minutes later, and, when his cross was only half-cleared to Danny Sleath at the edge of the area Ashton again kept the effort out. It looked as though it was just a matter of time before the visitors edged ahead, and on 36 minutes it was Davidson who cleverly converted a Liam Parker flick from a James Cullingworth free-kick from back in the Boston half. Parker rose well and Davidson hooked the ball around the corner and into the bottom of the net from eight yards out.

Boston doubled their lead with a goal of stunning simplicity but great skill nonetheless. Again Cullingworth pinged a Iong diagonal ball from left back which picked out Marc Newsham as he ghosted into the right side of the penalty area. Newsham calmly drew Ashton before pulling an inviting ball for Davidson to side-foot home.

There seemed to be no way back for FC United but Boston grew increasingly lax, inviting the home side to take the initiative. Tom Evans was forced into a good double save as efforts from Carl Lomax and Adam Carden rained in.

Rebels' sub Carlos Roca then lifted a ball over the bar from close range after good work from Simon Carden. With almost incessant pressure it seemed certain that the home side would get a goal back and so it proved on 80 minutes when Adam Tong rifled home from the most acute of angles to set up a grandstand finish.

Evans saved the points for Boston with a superb close range stop from Simon Carden during six minutes of stoppage time.

Even then the home side still carved out one final chance as the clock ticked down but Tong's header was comfortably saved.

Star Man: Cullingworth (Boston)