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Archived News from November 2003

2nd November 2003 22:35

report from Bostonfever.com
Mansfield Town 2-1 Boston United
By Seb Norton

United suffered their first defeat for six games as they let an early lead slip at high-flying Mansfield.

Going into what had been billed by some as a 'local derby,' a theory further reinforced by a terrific Pilgrims following of over 600, United had been on a morale-boosting sequence of results. There last defeat having been incurred in September, during that grim night at Yeovil. And this confidence was clearly evident in the Boston-camp as it propelled United to an early surge forward. And, after the linesman's flag had denied Peter Duffield a goal, the Pilgrims did make the breakthrough. Simon Rusk, reinstated into Neil Thompson's side after a spell out injured, supplied a cross from the right. Stags defender Dave Artell made a hash of the clearance, and Simon Weatherstone was on hand to crash home a left-footed shot in from 15 yards on 27 minutes.

What the Pilgrims needed to do now, was to remain resolute and hold onto their crucial lead up to the break. Sometimes, however, you just cannot argue with quality. This being a virtue possessed by Town striker Junior Mendes in abundance. The pace of the forward caused the United defence problems all afternoon. Six minutes after they'd fallen behind, Mendes latched onto a superb reverse pass. And having held off the challenges of Balmer and Hogg, he slotted the ball wide of Bastock to level things up. And but for a couple of smart saves from Paul Bastock, Mendes might have bagged his first brace for Mansfield. Boston had coped admirably with their hosts though, and playing some good football in the process went into the break level.

It was then turn for the old cliché of football being 'a game of two-halves' that reared, in this instance, its unwanted head. An injury to influential forward Graeme Jones, meant Thompson was forced to bring on Stuart Douglas in his place. Immediately, the physical approach and strength United carried going forward was taken away. To make matters worse Mansfield then went in front. And it was that man Mendes again. This time he nodded home a Liam Lawrence cross from the right as a static Pilgrims defence looked on in horror. 53 minutes gone, and from then on United deteriorated in their play, as the home team grew in confidence. Bastock again being called into action with a super save from Larkin's drive, and Mendes could even afford a shot to come off the woodwork. But for Boston, too often long-balls were pumped up to an ailing strike-partnership of Duffield and Douglas, hardly the 'giants' you want to flick on a long-ball?! And except for a comfortable save for Pilkington from Lee Thompson's shot, and a header over by Weatherstone from Ben Chapman's corner. The return of Boston's captain being one positive from a disappointing day. It may have got worse for United but for Bastock, but in truth the 'match' had long been over.

Mansfield Town: Pilkington, Hassell, Artell, Day, Vaughan, MacKenzie, Williamson, Corden, Lawrence, Mendes, Larkin. Subs: White, Dimech, Beardsley, Curtis, Disley.

Boston United: Bastock, Balmer, Greaves, Hogg, Beevers, Lee Thompson, Ellender, Weatherstone, Rusk, Jones, Duffield. Subs: Chapman, Croudson, Douglas, Clarke, Potter.

OVERVIEW- It'd be easy to overreact after this defeat and United's abject second-half performance was a throw-back to previous games. Infact too often, 'Jekyll and Hyde' showings away from York Street by Boston have been their undoing. Games at Swansea, Darlington, Bristol Rovers and now Mansfield, all highlighting an alarming and recurring problem. Just what are Thommo and Redders putting in the players' half-time drinks?! Fair enough, the injury to Jones was a massive blow, and a long lay-off could result in further negative implications for the Pilgrims. This months away fixtures were always going to be tough, and with cup-ties away at Brighton and Macclesfield, attention will turn towards a much-needed money-spinning venture. Without a doubt though, injuries will tell for Thompson, who will be seeking a positive response in the coming week. The team deciding to play in both halves of the game would be a good start.


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