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Stuck in the middle with you

Pilgrims 1-1 Macclesfield Town

Coca Cola League

Macclesfield Town arrived in Boston as the only team in the Coca Cola League Two with a 100% record after three games. Adding even more spice to the fixture, in the same match last season Martin Carruthers had been in the Maclesfield team and Graham Potter in the Boston team. This season they had both swapped sides. Before the match, Boston manager Steve Evans had hinted that he might have to include his sensational summer signing Paul Gascoigne in the squad, even though he wasn't fully fit after recovering from a perforated ulcer. In the event, the injury problems with the squad weren't quite as bad as predicted, so the former England international could wait for a better opportunity to make his League debut for Boston. The Pilgrims had the best of the opening minutes. Jason Lee had two good chances to give Boston the lead. After eight minutes a good turn gave him a clear sight of goal, but his shot was easily saved by Alan Fettis in the Macclesfield goal. The three minutes later Courtney Pitt made a surging run down the left wing and picked out Lee with a piercing cross, but the former Nottingham Forest striker headed tamely straight at the keeper. On the half hour David Noble ran through the heart of the Macclesfield defence and set up Carruthers with a precise pass, who then screwed his shot just wide of the post. Macclesfield then hit back as Matthew Tipton broke through down the right, but his shot across the face of the goal was deflected for a corner by Boston keeper Nathan Abbey. It soon became apparent that Noble appeared to be limping, so on 35 minutes he was replaced by Simon Rusk.

Just before half time Carruthers saw two superb shots well blocked. Paul Ellender, returning from suspension that had kept him out of the Boston side for the first three matches, then headed over from a corner. The second half was only a few minutes old when Macclesfield had a good opportunity to take the lead. An abysmal attempt at a pass out of defence by Austin McCann went straight to Macclesfield's Tommy Widdrington, but his subsequent shot at goal went wide of the right post. Boston then won a series of corners but failed to capitalise. McCann then made up for his earlier mistake with a penetrating run down the left wing that resulted in a corner being won. Paul Ellender again missed the target by inches with free header that grazed the right upright. With fifteen minutes left Steve Evans injected some pace into the side by bringing on Danny Thomas to replace Martin Carruthers who had run himself into the ground against his old club, chasing every long punt upfield. Boston soon won a free kick in a promising position five yards outside the area and Pitt's effort curled just over the bar. On 79 minutes Macclesfield took the lead when Jon PARKIN headed home a cross from the right following a rather dubious throw-in award to the Silkmen. The visitors' joy was short lived as two minutes later Jason LEE opened his Boston account with a simple header at the far post. The match finished with summer signing David Staff making his League debut, coming on for the last two minutes in place of Lee Thomspon.

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Beevers, Austin McCann, Greg Strong, Paul Ellender, Tom Bennett, David Noble (Simon Rusk 35), Lee Thompson (David Staff 88), Martin Carruthers (Danny Thomas 71), Jason Lee, Courtney Pitt. Subs not used: Paul Bastock, Gareth Jelleyman.

Match report and photograph copyright © Ken Fox, 2004.