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Douglas gives his all

Pilgrims 1-3 Cambridge United

Nationwide League

Life as a football manager is rarely easy, but Boston United's manager Neil Thompson must be feeling that Lady Luck has deserted him in recent weeks. With the team leaking goals like a sieve, the last thing he needed going into this match was to find that his list of injured, suspended and doubtfuls in the squad was as long as the list of fully fit players. Mark Greaves returned from injury, but Paul Ellender, Mark Angel, Tom Bennett, Simon Rusk, Mark Clifford, Ben Chapman and Matt Hocking were all unavailable. This meant that Anthony Elding, Peter Costello, Mark Monington and Ross Weatherstone all made the starting line-up. Ross Weatherstone had impressed after coming on a substitute in last week's match at Carlisle and his good form continued as he put in a performance as good as any of the other players used at right back this season. Cambridge went in front after just two minutes. Andy Lodge was beaten for pace and despite some desperate attempts at clearing, the ball eventually fell to David KITSON who drilled the ball home. Cambridge looked the sharper side, putting good attacking moves together and they went further ahead on twenty-two minutes when a cross from the left wing was deflected into his own net by Neil REDFEARN. A minute later Boston were unlucky not to pull a goal back when Simon Weatherstone latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area and his pile-driver of a shot slammed onto the crossbar. Jamie Cook now entered the fray when he replaced Stuart Douglas who limped off a few minutes after picking up an ankle injury. Just before the break SIMON WEATHERSTONE reduced the deficit.

He was picked out by a through ball from Costello and beating the offside trap fired the ball into the bottom right hand corner. The second half saw much Boston pressure. Almost from the kick-off Ross Weatherstone fired in a long range dipper that was only just too high. Cambridge then had a headed goal disallowed for offside. Gould now came on to replace a tiring Andy Lodge. Next it was Boston's turn to have a goal disallowed. Jamie Cook was adjudged to have handled the ball as he strode forward into the box and placed the ball between the keeper and the upright. His protestations to the referee only earnt him a booking. Paul Bastock then had to make a superb save to hook out a header that had goal written all over it. Action now switched to the other end and Ross Weatherstone saw another good effort pass across the face of the goal and just wide. In an attempt to give Boston more firepower, striker Steve Burton now came on for the defending Weatherstone brother, who left the field to rapturous applause. Neil Redfearn now came close but his shot lacked direction and curled wide of the left post. The Cambridge goal now came under a period of sustained pressure and it is almost unbelievable that Boston did not find an equaliser. Three goal-line clearances were required in one attack to allow Cambridge to maintain their lead. Cambrdge made sure of the points one minute from the end when Cook was beaten to the ball allowing KITSON to break free and chip the ball over Bastock into the net from a tight angle.

United team: 1. Bastock, 2. R Weatherstone (Burton 70), 3. Lodge (Gould 58), 4. Greaves, 5. Monington, 6. Redfearn, 7. Warburton, 8. S Weatherstone, 9. Elding, 10. Douglas (Cook 26), 11. Costello. Subs not used: Conroy, Thompson.

Match report and photo copyright © Ken Fox, 2002.