Here are the news items about the club received in the 1996/7 season, in date order with the latest news at the top.
Pilgrims 2-0 Winsford United
Unibond LeagueThis match had an exciting start. In the first minute Chris Cook was tripped in the penalty area but Greg Fee saw his spot kick saved. Then Winsford hit us on the break and as Paul Bastock ran out to deal with a forward at the near post the ball was flicked over him to an unmarked Winsford player in the centre who managed to miss a totally open goal from ten yards out. From then on it was mainly Boston who had scoring chances. Phil Brown had a goal ruled out for offside, then Smaller managed to turn past his marker on the edge of the area but saw his shot blocked. Applebly forced a save with a bobbling shot from outside the area and Chris Cook just failed to connect with a cross from Smaller. Winsford's only other decent chance of the first half occurred when their No. 7 ran straight through the middle, managed to beat Bastock who had run out of the area, but saw his shot cleared off the line by Chris Withe. We scored after 34 minutes when a cross was half cleared by the Winsford goalkeeper under pressure from Chris Cook and the ball came out to Steve APPLEBY on the edge of the area who lobbed the ball into the net.
The second half was a bit quieter. Mark Melson came on for Chris Cook for the last fifteen minutes. Phil Brown was booked for dissent with ten minutes left. Then in the 81st minute Andrew STANHOPE got the second goal from a corner when the ball landed at his feet and he was able to power a shot into the corner of the net. Paul Watts came on for Smaller for the last minute of the game.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Simon Armstrong, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Chambers, 7. Chris Cook, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Carl Smaller, 11. Andrew Stanhope, 12. Mark Melson, 14. Paul Watts, 15. Glen Maddison.
Pilgrims 2-0 Spennymooor United
Unibond LeagueWith only the runners-up spot to play for and an important cup final coming up, this match was an ideal opportunity to experiment and give a bit more experience to upcoming players from the reserve side. Paul Watts, a youngster from the reserves was given another chance with the No. 10 shirt and Phil Brown was being more of a provider than a predator to set up chances for Watts, Andrew Stanhope and Leroy Chambers. From the start it was clear that Spennymoor were poor opposition. They only turned up with twelve players and looked just the sort of team their lowly league position indicated. However, to even things out the referee continually incensed the home crowd by missing Spennymoor fouls and giving free kicks the opposite way to that expected. The match started with shots raining in on the Spennymoor goal. Simon Armstrong hit the bar in the first minute, then a cross by Chris Withe was flicked on by Leroy Chambers to Andrew Stanhope who shot just wide of the left post. The first goal came after eight minutes when an attempted clearance by the Spennymoor defence was headed back into the area by Martin Hardy where it was flicked on to an unmarked Simon ARMSTRONG who side footed his shot into the net.
This was pretty much the pattern for the rest of the game. Phil
Brown provided great crosses for Leroy Chambers who shot wide and Andrew
Stanhope who hit the post, as well as seeing a shot of his own tipped over
the bar. At the start of the second half Paul Watts had his best chance from
a corner, but headed just over the bar. Shortly afterwards he was replaced
by Chris Cook. Leroy Chambers had a couple of rasping shots saved by the
Spennymoor goalkeeper. Chris Cook then got booked following a tussle with
the goalkeeper from the resulting corner. Melson came on for Stanhope for
the last five minutes. The second goal came right at the end when Phil Brown
ran into the penalty area and was knocked over before he could get his shot
in. Greg FEE had no trouble from the penalty spot. Andrew Stanhope was the
Asda Man-of-the-Match in reward for his skilful runs down the wing.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Simon Armstrong, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Chambers, 7. Leroy Chambers, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Paul Watts, 11. Andrew Stanhope, 12. Danny Marshall, 14. Mark Melson, 15. Chris Cook.
The man behind the idea, which is known as PASE (Professional Academic and Soccer Experience), is former Pilgrims manager and current manager of the England semi-professional side, Ronnie Reid. There are around twenty places available for students aged 16-17 years who will take a TEC Sports Science Course backed by Bedford College. The other clubs selected to participate in the scheme besides Boston are Morecambe, Durham City, Farnborough Town and Dorchester Town.
26th March BOSTON UNITED 1-0 Colwyn Bay 2nd April Colwyn Bay 1-3 BOSTON UNITED 12th March Accrington Stanley 1-0 Gainsborough Trinity 18th March Gainsborough Trinity 3-1 Accrington Stanley
But the departures are not just limited to the playing side as off the field Boston have lost the input of Des Portas who has been covering the Lincolnshire club for Pilgrim Hospital Radio for the past 22 years as well as local radio and United's Clubcall line. Des has announced he is calling his last shot at the end of the present campaign.
Farsley Celtic 2-1 Pilgrims
President's CupAnother cold, wet match in Yorkshire and another 2-1 loss, but on this occasion the game went into extra time before any goals were scored. New signing Jonathan Scargill was ineligible for this President's Cup Second Round replay at the Throstle Nest, so Martyn Bunce took over in goal. Carl Smaller was preferred to Simon Armstrong in the wing back position and Andrew Stanhope got the No. 10 shirt ahead of Steve Williams. There was not much action in the first half, Leroy Chambers and Phil Brown battled away up front with Stanhope playing further back. About the only moves of note were on the half hour when Carl Smaller shot straight at the Farsley keeper and ten minutes before half time when Steve Chambers shot over the top from the edge of the area following a corner. Ten minutes into the second half and Farsley thought they had won a penalty when their No. 8 was fouled running into the area. The referee blew for the penalty but then noticed the assistant referee was signalling him, and after consultation changed the decision to a Farsley free kick just outside the area. The shot from the free kick was well struck but went just to the right of the goal. Ten minutes later Leroy Chambers had a header saved following a nice bit of skill when Steve Chambers released Phil Brown on the right of the penalty area to get a good cross in. United then brought on Simon Armstrong in place of Carl Smaller who was soon combining well with Mason. A neat one-two released Mason whose shot was saved. With five minutes to go United made another substitution, bringing on Steve Williams to replace Leroy Chambers.
At ninety minutes the game was still
goalless so the game went into extra time. Straight away Boston nearly went
into the lead when a Steve Chambers shot from outside the area passed just
over the bar. Four minutes later Phil BROWN put us into the lead. Mason
broke down the right and got in a cross which found its way through to Brown
who calmly shot past the Farsley keeper. Armstrong could have finished the
game off five minutes later when he was put in the clear with only the keeper
to beat but his tame shot was pushed past the post. The second period of
extra time started with another good chance. Stanhope was brought down just
outside the area and Withe's free kick had to be tipped over the bar by the
keeper. Mason was booked after tripping the Farsley No. 11 as he went on a
surging run through the centre. Eight minutes from the end Farsley equalised
with a curling shot from LEAROYD from a tight angle on the left of the area
that went in off the far post. Three minutes later Farsley scored a
spectacular winner. Their No. 11 CARRINGTON noticed that Bunce was slightly
off his line and lobbed the ball over him from about twenty yards outside the
penalty area. Cook came on for Melson for the last few minutes and was
unlucky not to equalise with a shot across the goalmouth.
United team: 1. Martyn Bunce, 2. Carl Smaller, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Mark Melson, 6. Steve Chambers, 7. Leroy Chambers, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Andrew Stanhope, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Simon Armstrong, 14. Steve Williams, 15. Chris Cook.
Pilgrims 3-5 Barrow
Unibond LeagueThis match started with United fans behind the goal chanting "Boston's going up". As the same fans had been chanting "Emley's going out" at the start of the FA Trophy game I suspected things might not go quite as well as hoped! Before the match Greg Fee had commented in the Standard that it was important that we didn't lose any of our matches against the top teams so I expected a tight game that would probably be a low scoring draw or decided by a single goal. I certainly didn't expect to see eight goals with five of them going into the Boston net. So this was a very disappointing result. We lost a critical match. We conceded five goals at York Street, which hasn't happened in a League match since we have been back in the NPL. It was also the first time we have been beaten at home in the League for over a year and with Leek and Hyde both winning it now makes our chances of promotion this season a bit less likely. Barrow came into the match having won five out of their last six League games, a run that had taken them to the top of the table, so they must have felt optimistic about getting revenge for the 1-0 defeat to us at Holker Street back in November. United were without Steve Chambers who is serving a two match suspension so we started the match with Mark Melson playing in an unfamiliar midfield slot in his place. From the start this formation didn't quite look right. Armstrong didn't shine. Despite getting plenty of possession only once did he manage to thread his way through the Barrow defence. Most of the time he would lose the ball and Hardy would have to back peddle to try and recover the situation. Unfortunately with all this extra work Hardy was having an abysmal match. He kept giving the ball away. Barrow looked very impressive going forward and soon took advantage of one of these lapses allowing their No. 10 Neil MORTON to have a clear run at goal. He calmly dribbled round some last ditch tackles and rolled the ball into the corner of the net with Bastock nowhere to be seen. This was a game with as many bookings as goals. Most of them were for bad tempered altercations rather than bad tackles. The first player to go into the referees notebook was Barrow's No. 9 Cooper after nine minutes. Next was their No. 3 Doolan on the half hour. From the resulting free kick United won a corner and from the corner Steve WILLIAMS equalised by bundling the ball over the line. Not the most elegant goal but they all count. Leroy Chambers then had a couple of shots saved after being put through by Armstrong. We then saw Barrow's No. 11 Marginson booked followed a few minutes later by Melson. So at half time the score was 1-1 in goals with a bookings count of 3-1 to Barrow.
The second half started with good chances to both sides. Barrow's Neil Morton
saw a flicked header go just wide of the Boston goal. Then a Boston free kick
was crossed to Williams who nodded the ball down to Melson who shot over the
bar. Barrow then went into the lead again. A cross from the left from
Marginson found their No. 7 Mark GRUGEL
waiting unmarked on the right of the Boston goal to put a powerful header past
Bastock. United then made two substitutions in quick succession. New signing
Andrew Stanhope came on for Mark Melson and somewhat surprisingly Carl Smaller
replaced Richard Mason who I thought had been playing well up to then. Withe
had a good run at goal that ended with a tackle in the Barrow penalty area.
After picking himself up he got into an argument with Barrow's No. 8 Brown which
resulted in both of them being booked. Stanhope, who looked very lively, then
had a good shot which just floated over the bar. Chris Cook came on for
Steve Williams and made an immediate impact. Leroy Chambers beat the Barrow
offside trap, drifted over to the right of the goal and put in a perfect
cross which was met by COOK at the near post to hammer in the equaliser.
Barrow were back in front a minute later. Grugel broke free on the right and a
cross came in to an unmarked Neil MORTON whose diving header powered into the
net. Bastock's name then went into the book for a foul on one of the Barrow
forwards. Seven minutes later Barrow went further ahead. They won a corner and
MORTON scored his hat trick goal with a spectacular overhead kick. Bastock
was then sent off following further tussles with the Barrow front line.
Chris Withe took his place in goal for the last five minutes. Two minutes
from the end Chris Cook got booked for an over enthusiastic tackle and then
STANHOPE scored his first goal for the club following a short corner which
ended with him lobbing the ball over the Barrow keeper off the bar and into
the net. But the game was still not over. MORTON scored his fourth goal
in the last minute when he dribbled past Hardy and blasted his shot past the
Asda Man-of-the-Match Chris Withe. I think if we are going to
get promoted we now need to win both the games against Hyde and Leek,
have a bit of luck and John Blackwell must remember to send the application
forms off to the League. If we can just get the right hand side defence
/ midfield back into shape then we could still do it. It would also help if the predictive
chanting didn't start until we are at least three goals up!
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Simon Armstrong, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Mark Melson, 7. Leroy Chambers, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Steve Williams, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Carl Smaller, 14. Andrew Stanhope, 15. Chris Cook.
Emley 2-1 Pilgrims
FA Umbro TrophyApart from one notable exception we have never done well in the Trophy and this match continued that trend. A scrappy first half saw few points of note. The Emley No. 10 Mark Wilson was carried off on a stretcher after ten minutes following an accidental collision with Bastock on the edge of the penalty area. He was replaced by Shaun Constable whose first impact on the game was to get booked for a foul on Mason. Other constables were soon to have roles in this match. A rather surreal event happened when at least twenty policemen moved in to eject about eight Boston supporters behind the goal for obscene chanting. This followed an ignored warning over the PA system for them to refrain from swearing. Zero Tolerance policing is clearly already being used in Yorkshire. Back on the pitch Leroy Chambers headed just over the bar from a cross by Withe and Bastock made a great save at point blank range from an Emley header. Five minutes before half time Steve Chambers was booked for a foul on Emley No. 11 Michael Reynolds on the left wing. The resulting free kick found its way through to Emley's John FRANCIS on the right edge of the penalty area who volleyed the ball past Bastock for the first Emley goal. In the second half Boston started strongly. Brown produced a great turn on the edge of the penalty area and his shot was just pushed over the bar. Boston equalised after fifty minutes. Melson crossed from the right to find Brown whose shot was parried by the Emley goalkeeper but the ball fell straight into the path of Steve WILLIAMS who hammered the ball into the net.
Boston's joy was short lived. Two minutes later REYNOLDS scored the second
Emley goal following a cross by Francis who managed to find a way past three
United defenders. Steve Chambers came close to equalising with two almost
identical cracking shots from outside the penalty area. The first was
just tipped over the bar, the second went just the wrong side of the right
post. Williams also lobbed just wide a few minutes later. Mason and
Reynolds were both booked for fighting (handbags at three paces) after Mason
had tripped Reynolds as he went past him. Carl Smaller came on for Mark
Melson with fifteen minutes left and was unlucky not to produce a goal when
he was put through by a pass from Williams only to see his shot go across the
Emley goal with no one there to provide the final touch. Hardy was booked
for a tackle on the edge of the area and Withe was also booked for a late
tackle five minutes from the end. Chris Cook then came on for Williams and
showed some good touches with Smaller but in the end Emley held on to their
win. I am not too upset about the result as to use the old cliche, it means
we can now concentrate on the more important task of winning the League.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Mark Melson, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Chambers, 7. Leroy Chambers, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Steve Williams, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Carl Smaller, 14. Neil Timby, 15. Chris Cook.
Accrington Stanley v Radcliffe Borough BOSTON UNITED v Emley Colwyn Bay v Guiseley Gainsborough Trinity v Knowsley UnitedThe matches are to be played in the week commencing 10th February 1997.
Pilgrims 2-2 Runcorn
Unibond LeagueAn understrength United side were unlucky not to take all the points in this match against last year's Conference relegation team. The Pilgrims were without both Simon Armstrong, who was away having trials for England Schoolboys, and player manager Greg Fee, who will be out of action for a few games following an ankle injury sustained during the win against Hyde in the Unibond League Cup. Runcorn scored after just eight minutes when poor marking gifted Neil WHALLEY an easy goal. United fought back with two goals by Leroy Chambers. The first after seventeen minutes, followed good work by Steve Williams who beat his marker on the left of the penalty area and got a great cross in for CHAMBERS to slot into the net.
CHAMBERS' second goal, after twenty eight minutes
was a lofted header which sailed over the Runcorn keeper into the top right
hand corner of the net. In the second half Runcorn tactics were to defend
deep and try and get an equaliser on the break. Most times they went forward
they were caught offside, however in the eighty third minute they managed to
beat the offside trap leaving Liam WATSON in the clear and despite a last
ditch tackle by Withe he shot past Bastock to equalise. Withe was carried off
injured at this point and I hope his injury is not too serious as without
both Withe and Fee the United defence could be stretched.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Phil Brown, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Glen Maddison, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Chambers, 7. Leroy Chambers, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Mark Melson, 10. Steve Williams, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Carl Smaller, 14. Darren Munton, 15. Chris Cook.
Radcliffe Borough v Alfreton Town Blyth Spartans v Worksop Town Runcorn v Barrow BOSTON UNITED v Farsley CelticThe matches are to be played in the week commencing 27th January 1997.
Chester 1-0 Pilgrims
FA CupThird division minnows Chester City caused a major upset in the FA Cup by beating high flying Unibond League side Boston United in the second round. Chester, whose best score in the FA Cup is a 6-1 win back in 1933, were up against a side who have bettered that score twice in this season's competition alone. The Boston defence was caught napping in the 5th minute allowing Andy MILNER to score an easy goal. But from then on it was Boston all the way. Richard Mason, Leroy Chambers, Phil Brown and Simon Armstrong ran rings around the Chester defence who had to resort to fouls to stop them. One of these resulted in a first half penalty when Brown was scythed down as he ran into the penalty area. Unfortunately Greg Fee's shot was saved by Chester goalkeeper Ronnie Sinclair, who was later made Chester man of the match by the matchday sponsors. Chester received four yellow cards during the match, two of them were for Peter Jackson who was thus sent off in the 36th minute after hacking down Leroy Chambers just outside the penalty area. However, despite the extra man advantage it was not to be Boston's day. The Chester goalkeeper made some excellent saves and even when he was finally beaten by a Hardy header, there was a defender on the line to clear the ball.
Late substitutions of Smaller, Melson and Munton for Cook, Mason and Armstrong
failed to make the desired impression and Chester managed to hang on for
their win. Apart from the goal, the Boston defence were superb. Fee and
Hardy were in complete control and Withe frequently showed excellent skills
to get out of tricky situations. Bastock hardly had to make a save all match.
The support was also excellent, better than we usually get at York Street and
we boosted the gate to give Chester their best home attendance of the season.
I have never seen us play so well and not win. About the only player who
wasn't up to his usual standard was Chris Cook who never really troubled the
Chester defence, and in hindsight it might have been better to have brought
on Smaller or Munton as his replacement a bit earlier. If we can keep this
performance level up we will win the Unibond League by a clear margin.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Simon Armstrong, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Chambers, 7. Leroy Chambers, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Chris Cook, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Carl Smaller, 14. Darren Munton, 15. Mark Melson.
Accrington Stanley v Flixton / Warrington Town Bamber Bridge / Radcliffe B v Barrow / Gretna Colwyn Bay v Winsford United Emley v Harrogate T / Spennymoor U Gainsborough T / Leek T v Frickley Athletic Hyde United v Lincoln Utd / BOSTON UTD Knowsley United v Great Harwood Town Matlock Town v Ashton Utd / GuiseleyTies to be played week commencing 2nd December.
Emley 1-1 Pilgrims
Unibond LeagueI'm not very good at match reports as I tend to end up with a string of cliches, but I thought it was about time I had a go. I met an Emley fan after the match who had turned up 90s after the kick off and had missed both the goals. We scored first following a through ball which found Leroy CHAMBERS unmarked with only the goalkeeper to beat, which he duly did with style. Then a few seconds later Emley had equalised, a cross from the right found Emley's No. 6 Paul DAVID unmarked in the box, who had the easiest of headers into an empty net. In the windy conditions with icy rain that followed it was always going to be scrappy, especially since we were playing in our short sleeved summer away kit. Can't we afford long sleeved kit or was it a master plan to get us to turn the same shade of blue as Emley's shirts. I was cold, wrapped up four layers of clothing in the stand. We had a couple of good chances in the first half the main culprit being Steve Williams.
Bastock made a fine save on the edge of the penalty area to deny Emley.
In the second half Melson replaced Mason on the right wing, but never looked
like going past the defence in quite the same way. Cook came on for Williams
after 51 minutes and this seemed to be a signal for a period of intense
Emley pressure. They had two or three easy chances which a better set of
strikers would have easily put away. Some great defending by Withe saved us
on a number of occasions. Smaller came on for Munton for the last five minutes
but didn't have time to make an impression. We were clearly missing Armstrong
and probably had our minds on the Morecambe game on Saturday. We missed the
chance to go into second place, but it was better than last season's 2-0
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Darren Munton, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Hardy, 6. Steve Chambers, 7. Leroy Chambers, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Phil Brown, 10. Steve Williams, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Carl Smaller, 14. Mark Melson, 15. Chris Cook.
Preliminary Round - Saturday 31st August (1) Rothwell Town 5-1 Bourne Town (2) Watton United 1-4 Bedford Town (3) Wingate and Finchley 0-1 Spalding United (4) Fakenham Town 2-2 Maldon Town Maldon Town 2-0 Fakenham Town (3rd September) (5) Burnham Ramblers 1-1 Great Yarmouth Town Great Yarmouth Town 3-1 Burnham Ramblers (3rd September) 1st Qualifying Round - Saturday 14th September (A) Maldon Town 2-7 Boston United (B) Sudbury Wanderers 1-1 Great Yarmouth Town Great Yarmouth Town 0-1 Sudbury Wanderers (17th September) (C) Rothwell Town 2-3 Spalding United (D) Bishop's Stortford 2-0 Bedford Town 2nd Qualifying Round - Saturday 28th September (X) Boston United 3-0 Bishop's Stortford (Y) Sudbury Wanderers 3-2 Spalding United 3rd Qualifying Round - Saturday 12th October Boston United 10-1 Sudbury Wanderers