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Boston United Football Club News

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 lose final

Boston United lost their Unibond League Challenge Cup final against Gainsborough Trinity, played at Lincoln City's Sincil Bank ground, by a single goal scored by ex-Pilgrim Grant Morrow from the penalty spot seven minutes into extra time.

Pilgrims 2-0 Winsford United

Unibond League

This 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 League

With 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.

Pilgrims become pioneers

The Pilgrims of Boston United have become Pioneers after being chosen as one of five clubs selected to take part in a new scheme for young people that links football with studies. Under the innovative project, which will be launched this summer, students will spend half their time on the football field and the other half in the classroom.

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.

Pilgrims reach Challenge Cup final

Boston United reached the final of the Unibond League Challenge Cup after beating Colwyn Bay 4-1 on aggregate. The joy of victory was tempered by a suspected broken leg sustained by new signing Darren Clyde midway through the second half of the second leg. However, later this was diagnosed as badly damaged ligaments. United will face Gainsborough Trinity in an all Lincolnshire final, at Sincil Bank, the home of Lincoln City, on Tuesday 29th April.

Gray loan made permanent

Lincoln United have signed on loan winger Andy Gray just prior to the transfer deadline.

Unibond League Challenge Cup Draw

The draw for the semi-finals of the Unibond League Challenge Cup is as follows. The semi-finals are two legged.
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

New signing

United have signed defender Darren Clyde on loan from Barnsley.

Gone, Gone, Going

Boston United have lost the services of their talented young left side midfielder Richard Mason who has accepted what was described by Boston Secretary John Blackwell as an "unbelievable offer" from Conference outfit Hednesford Town. Mason had joined the Pilgrims on loan last term from Sheffield Wednesday who later released him in the close season. The player quickly rejoined Boston and has since twice represented an FA XI against the Combined Services and, strangly, the Unibond League. Also leaving the Pilgrims but in more acrimonious circumstances is the fifteen goal striker Steve Williams who has walked out on the club to join Stamford FC of the United Counties League.

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 Cup

Another 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.

Boston discipline Bastock

Boston United this week signed 'keeper Jonathan Scargill on loan from Sheffield Wednesday as manager Greg Fee took disciplinary action against the Pilgrims regular custodian Paul Bastock who was sent off in last week's 3-5 defeat at home to Barrow.

Pilgrims 3-5 Barrow

Unibond League

This 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.

New signing bolsters midfield

Boston United have signed Andrew Stanhope from King's Lynn. This 21 year old midfielder was previously a trainee with Peterborough United.

Armstrong in final trial

Boston United went into Saturday's FA "Umbro" Trophy tie at Emley without their teenage prodigy Simon Armstrong. The youngster, who has been attracting scouts from numerous full time clubs, was away at Lilleshall attending the final England Under 18's trial hoping to make the sixteen member squad.

Gray on loan

Troubled winger Andy Gray has signed on loan to Unibond League First Division side Lincoln United.

Emley 2-1 Pilgrims

FA Umbro Trophy

Apart 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.

Gainsborough sign ex-Pilgrim

When United get round to playing their re-arranged Christmas derby games against local Unibond League rivals Gainsborough Trinity, they could see a familiar face amongst the opposition. Ex-Pilgrim Steve Circuit has signed for the Blues from Macclesfield Town. He has started well, scoring two goals in the match at Accrington on Saturday.

Unibond League Challenge Cup Draw

The draw for the 4th round of the Unibond League Challenge Cup is as follows:
Accrington Stanley    v Radcliffe Borough
BOSTON UNITED         v Emley
Colwyn Bay            v Guiseley
Gainsborough Trinity  v Knowsley United
The matches are to be played in the week commencing 10th February 1997.

Munton goes to Grantham Town

Darren Munton, after failing to get a regular first team place this season, has signed for the Doc Martens League Midland Division side Grantham Town.

Pilgrims 2-2 Runcorn

Unibond League

An 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.

President's Cup Draw

The draw for the second round of the Unibond League President's Cup is as follows:

Radcliffe Borough                  v Alfreton Town
Blyth Spartans                     v Worksop Town
Runcorn                            v Barrow
BOSTON UNITED                      v Farsley Celtic
The matches are to be played in the week commencing 27th January 1997.

Chester 1-0 Pilgrims

FA Cup

Third 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.

FA Trophy Draw

United have drawn fellow Unibond Premier Division side Emley away from home in the first round of the FA Umbro Trophy. The match is scheduled to be played on Saturday 18th January.

Special Award for Boston

The Sponsors of the Unibond League this week announced they are making a special award of £250 to Boston United, not just in recognition of the York Street outfit reaching the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Cup last weekend but also for the manner in which the club conducted itself in making arrangements for the tie and the efforts made to attract media coverage for the sponsors. The special award is the first made by Unibond under a new scheme to encourage clubs to actively promote the sponsorship and, being completely unexpected, was all the more appreciated by both the club and the League.

League Challenge Cup Draw

The draw for the third round of the Unibond League Challenge Cup is as follows:

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 / Guiseley
Ties to be played week commencing 2nd December.

FA Cup Draw

The draw for the second round of the FA Cup was made by two ex-Pilgrims. The home teams were plucked out of the box by Howard Wilkinson and the away teams by Jim Smith. The draw is regional, with United being in the Northern section. We will play against Third Division Chester City, away from home, with the match scheduled to be played on Saturday 7th December. One person who should relish this match is United's first round goal hero Leroy Chambers, who was signed on loan by the Pilgrims from the "Blues" at the start of the season.

Emley 1-1 Pilgrims

Unibond League

I'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 defeat.

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.

Friendly attracts big crowd

The first meeting of Boston United and Boston Town since the FA Cup match 26 years ago, attracted a crowd of 759 on Wednesday evening. They witnessed the same result, a 4-0 win for the Pilgrims, in a game that was part of the deal that took Carl Smaller to York Street in the close season.

Casey signs for Lincoln Utd

Veteran Pilgrims defender Paul Casey has been signed up by high-flying Unibond League First Division side Lincoln United, following a loan period with the club.

Home Tie in FA Cup

After beating Bedworth United in the Fourth Qualifying Round, the Pilgrims have been rewarded with a home tie in the draw for the First Round Proper of the FA Cup. They will play against either Lancaster City or Morecambe. The tie is scheduled for Saturday 16th November, curiously replacing the home Unibond League match against Lancaster City.

Bateman's Best

The Pilgrims' main sponsors Bateman's Brewery were named "Best Brewery in Britain" in the 1997 edition of "The Good Pub Guide". United have been sponsored by the firm for almost ten years.

Tough FA Cup Draw

United have drawn Bedworth United away in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. This Warwickshire team play in the Dr Martens League Midland Divison and have already knocked out Conference side Kettering Town in the previous round. The match is scheduled to be played on Saturday 26th October.

Director resigns

Gordon Bolland, the United 2000 representative on the Board of Directors has resigned both as a director and chairman of United 2000, stating that he is disillusioned with the way that the club is being run in that there appears to be "a total lack of of communication between the General Manager and the board of directors".

Revised FA Cup Draw

The full draw for Section 16 is as follows:

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

Andy Gray goes AWOL

Boston United have rejected want-away winger Andy Gray's request to terminate his contract. The 21 year old has asked to be released from his contract, but boss Greg Fee says the only way he will be going anywhere is if another club comes in with an offer. Sheffield based Gray has told the Pilgrims he has started a new full-time job in Leeds and is not available for training or matches.

Boston Cup Woe

Boston United may look odds on favourites to put out Maldon Town in next week's FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round tie but the Pilgrims, once renowned for their FA Cup exploits, including the biggest ever away win by a non-league outfit over a Football League club when beating Derby County 6-1 at the Baseball Ground in 1955/56, have themselves been on the wrong end of a few surprises in recent seasons. In the last four campaigns they have gone out to Aveley, Canvey Island, Heybridge Swifts and Wisbech Town.

Armstrong attracts scouts

Boston United's teenage sensation Simon Armstrong is pulling scouts from all over the country and at last week's home game against Chorley, Manchester United, Derby County (in the shape of former Pilgrims manager Jim Smith), Wimbledon, Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley and Lincoln City were in attendance. Armstrong didn't let them down with a goal after just two minutes.

Promotion Hopefuls

No fewer than eleven Premier Division clubs have made application for promotion to the Football Conference. Accrington Stanley, Barrow, Blyth Spartans, Boston United, Chorley, Gainsborough Trinity, Hyde United, Leek Town, Runcorn, Spennymoor United and Witton Albion are the candidates and will have grounds inspected to ensure they meet stringent regulations laid down for promotion should any of the eleven finish in a promotion position.

Pilgrims defeat Forest

Boston United wound up their pre-season fixtures with an emphatic 2-0 win over a strong Nottingham Forest side that included Paul McGregor who scored with his first touch in last season's UEFA cup tie against Auxerre. The Northern Ireland international 'keeper Alan Ferris kept Forest in the game with series of superb saves. Amongst the crowd of 1194 was top snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan who kindly agreed to do the half time draw.

More Pre-season Friendlies

United went one better than Newcastle United by beating Lincoln City 3-0 in a pre-season friendly on Monday night. Particularly impressive was ex Lincoln City / Peterborough United trialist forward Steve Williams, so much so that he was signed up by the Pilgrims after the game. Other pre-season results include a 2-0 win against a Nottingham Forest XI, a 0-0 draw at Scarborough and a 2-0 loss to Scunthorpe in the Lincs Senior Cup.

Pre-season friendlies

United had a close match against a Notts County XI on Saturday, losing 1-0 with the winning goal scored in the 84th minute. New signings on show included Carl Smaller and Pat Clark from Boston FC, 17 year old Simon Armstrong from Skegness and ex. Notts County, Newcastle Utd and Bradford City defender Chris Withe.

Pilgrims play Forest XI

A pre-season friendly against a Nottingham Forest XI has been arranged for Wednesday 14th August, kick off at 7:30 at York Street.

Tough test to start the season

The first day's fixtures have been announced for the Unibond League, which commences its season on Saturday 24th August. United will face old rivals from the Conference in newly relegated Runcorn at their Canal Street ground. The draw for the first round of the President's Cup has also been made and it pits United against Gainsborough Trinity at York Street. This match has to be played before 25th November.

Gareth Price seriously ill

United defender Gareth Price has undergone two hospital operations, one to remove a brain tumour, the other related to stomach problems. General Manager John Blackwell hopes that team members will be able to visit him in a week or two.

United sign striker

United have signed Carl Smaller from neighbours Boston Town FC. He has been the top scorer there for the last three seasons.

Steve Circuit goes

Steve Circuit has left the club to join Macclesfield Town. As he was a non-contract player no transfer fees were involved. Greg Fee hopes to sign a replacement very soon.

Players named as new management team

Boston United have a new management team. Greg Fee takes over from Mel Sterland as Manager, with Chris Cook taking over from Ronnie Reid as Assistant Manager.

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