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A rather bad photo

Pilgrims 1-1 Worksop Town

Umbro FA Trophy

A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time of twilight and I had my first chance to look at Steve Evans and his reconstructed United team as they took on Martin Hardy's old club Worksop Town. With his touchline theatricals Evans reminded me of Barry Fry. It was therefore no surprise to find out that he is a good friend of Fry and has been considering an offer to join him as assistant manager at Peterborough. He has certainly done wonders for the Pilgrims. The side I saw well beaten at Congleton has been transformed. The addition of Matt Carmichael and Dave Venables up front and attacking midfielder Ian Stringfellow has meant that the side now looks much more likely to put away the chances being created. He also seems to have the gift of inspiration as both Brian Horseman and Paul Watts put in such good performances that I had trouble believing that they were the same players I had seen earlier in the season.

From the start Boston looked a side likely to score. In the first few minutes Carmichael attacked the Worksop goal, first with a well placed header that required a good save, then with a shot that was only just wide of the left upright. Horseman also fired in a fierce shot that had to be parried for a corner. When Watts was fouled on the edge of the area, Stanhope whipped in a great free kick that was headed just over by Len Curtis. When Worksop did attack they were almost invariably caught out by the offside trap. On the one occasion in the first half when they did break through, Paul Bastock saved well to deny them. United's best chance in the first half fell to Ian Stringfellow. A rapid sequence of dazzling passes ripped open the Worksop defence and put him in the clear, but Jamie Holmshaw in the Worksop goal managed to deflect his shot for a corner.

The Pilgrims went into the lead a few minutes into the second half. It was a simple goal. Man of the Match Andrew Stanhope broke through down the right wing and his cross was met by the head of Matt CARMICHAEL to keep up his goal a game average. United continued to dominate for the next quarter of an hour and just as I was beginning to start thinking about possible opponents in the next round, Worksop got an equaliser. Horseman was unable to prevent a cross coming in from the right wing. The initial header beat Paul Bastock but was cleared off the line by Joby Gowshall. Unfortunately it fell to the feet of Worksop's No. 10 Kenny CLARK who rifled his shot into the back of the net. The goal really motivated Worksop and they now began to look more like the title chasing side that they are. Their supporters were also in good voice, although their numbers were swollen by a contingent from Grantham who were without a game this weekend. Paul Bastock twice had to be in top form to stop them taking the lead. However Boston also had chances to win the game and will think themselves unlucky to have had two close penalty claims turned down. The game ended on a sour note with Steve Charles being booked, then Worksop's No. 8, Mark Todd, got himself sent off after fouling Horseman and swearing at the referee. Steve Evans was also involved in a touchline fracas with members of the Worksop bench and the match officials. So the match finally ended in a draw and it now goes to a replay on Tuesday night.

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Len Curtis, 4. Ian Stringfellow, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Charles, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Brian Horseman, 9. Matt Carmichael, 10. Dave Venables, 11. Paul Watts, 12. Darren Munton, 14. Darren Clyde, 15. Simon Bailey, 16. Leigh Taylor, 17. Nick Maddison