Pilgrims 2-2 A.F.C. Bournemouth
After a summer full of clouds of doubt over their League future, the sun finally broke through as Boston United began their historic season's campaign with a home fixture against A.F.C. Bournemouth. And it wasn't just a metaphorical sun either. After two days of persistent rain, the sun came out to bathe York Street in glorious summer sunshine. Boston began the match missing three players; Rusk, Redfearn and Costello, and one manager; Steve Evans, through suspension. Clifford was also out with an achilles injury. So new signing Ben Morley came straight into the side along with other summer signings Ben Chapman and Matthew Hocking. The Pilgrims' strike force consisted of Clare and Elding. The match began with signs of nerves amongst the Boston side, not quite knowing what to expect from League opposition. The nerves weren't helped when Bournemouth took the lead on 9 minutes when Shaun MEYER headed home a simple goal from a corner. Boston held steady though and began to come more into the game and after half an hour had a period of domination when they could easily have levelled the scores if they had been more lucky. Paul Bastock was also having a superb match and made two excellent saves in one-on-one situations when Bournemouth broke.
The second half was only a few minutes old when Anthony Elding was stretchered off with an ankle injury. Jamie Cook came on as his replacement. There then came a five minute spell with three goals. First Daryl Clare saw his shot deflected into the net by Bournemouth defender Neil YOUNG during a goal mouth scramble following a Simon Weatherstone free kick. Boston then went in front when James GOULD rammed the ball home under the keeper's dive after Cook had found him with a timely pass as the pair of them ran towards the Bournemouth defence. Boston's delight was short lived as Brian STOCK cracked home an equaliser less than a minute after the restart. In the last half-hour, both sides had chances to take all three points. Clare saw a shot brush the post and Warren Feeney saw a shot well blocked. So Boston have opened their League account with a respectable draw against one of the Division Three favourites. On this evidence, it won't be too long before they have wiped out their four point penalty and start rising up the table.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Morley (Rodwell 46), 3. Chapman, 4. Ellender, 5. Hocking, 6. Bennett, 7. Warburton, 8. Weatherstone, 9. Clare, 10. Elding (Cook 48), 11. Gould. Subs not used: Angel, Thompson, Conroy.
Match report and photo copyright © Ken Fox, 2002.