Gainsborough Trinity 1 Boston United 2
CHRIS Hall believes Boston United’s Lincs Senior Shield victory over Gainsborough Trinity has shown the Pilgrims are still a force to be reckoned with.
Kevin Holsgrove and Mikel Suraez bagged the all-important goals for the Pilgrims last night, as they came from behind to sink their Yellowbelly rivals at the Northolme.
With Trinity spending big again this summer and Boston left filling the gaps left by the likes of Shaun Pearson, Anthony Church and Spencer Weir-Daley, onlookers were beginning to believe the Blue Square Bet Nort power was finally shifting in Lincolnshire.
And that seemed the case last night as the Blues dominated the first half.
But as Brian Little’s boys ran out of puff, United fought to the death to snatch victory.
“It was a great result in a big game for us,” said Hall, a former Gainsborough player.
“It wasn’t just a friendly, it was a Lincs Cup game against our biggest rivals, and a team who probably have a right to be up there at the end of the season.
“It was a game to set our standards to, and we did well.
“We wanted to go into the season on a high.”
The sentiments were the same for Trinity, who looked dejected after the final whistle as they counted the cost of letting early dominance slip through their fingers.
Hall admitted the victory meant something more to him than normal after spending an unhappy two-year spell at the Northolme.
But he’s not alone in being able to say he has represented both clubs.
The fact that United’s Lee Canoville and Ryan Semple also have Trinity ties added spice to the game, as did the Blues sporting ex-Pilgrims Jamie Yates, Shane Clarke, Rory Coleman Dominic Roma in their line-up.
Michael Leary, who has represented both on trial in pre-season and opted to join Trinity, made the bench.
Gainsborough’s new-look side dominated the opening exchanges as Boston looked at odds and ends in defence, particularly defending set-pieces.
Paul Bastock used his legs to deny Ryan Kendall, after the striker had been set free by Jamie Yates, the winger who turned down a Pilgrims contract extension to join Trinity in the summer.
Yates was pumped up for the game, and undoubtedly the best player of the first half.
He saw a nonchalant 25-yard volley rattle Bastock’s post and later struck the Boston crossbar, in a move that concluded with Ryan Williams’ strike being headed off the line by the ever-dependable Kevin Austin.
Pilgrims captain Gareth Jelleyman expertly denied Gavin Cowan with a goal-line block, while Bastock was again down quick to frustrate Kendall.
United’s chances were few and far between.
Ben Wilkinson’s 20-yard dig lacked the power to beat Phil Barnes in the Blues’ net, and Ryan Semple’s speculative left footer was scuffed wide.
Trinity earned a deserved lead on 22 minutes when Yates took one of his trademark corners, hanging the ball by the penalty spot for Darryn Stamp to head home.
If anything, going a goal down spurred Boston on and Semple – who was bettering Roma for pace all evening – put in a teasing cross, which Suarez pushed inches off target.
However, a moment of inspiration drew Boston level in the 32nd minute.
Ben Milnes played a neat pass into Holsgrove. But with is back to goal, and on the edge of the penalty area, the big winger still had a lot to do.
However, he turned inside Cowan, leaving his opponent for dead, before beating Barnes at his near post with a powerful 20-yarder.
Clarke almost showed Boston what they were missing but Bastock’s hands were firm enough to parry the midfielder’s 20-yard volley.
With half an hour to go, United introduced Danny Sleath for one last hurrah before he flies out to China to represent Great Britain in the World University Games this afternoon.
Replacing Wilkinson, the fresh legs began to pay off in midfield, especially as Little opted to replace Williams and Yates – his best two players on the night – with Leary and Lewis McMahon.
Trinity suddenly looked tired, and devoid of attacking ideas.
Boston, in contrast, were just finding their rhythm.
Semple’s corner was nodded across goal by Kevin Austin, but no Boston boot was on hand to convert.
A flurry from Trinity saw Jelleyman extend his leg to bravely block Clarke, who seemed sure to score from six yards out, while Bastock again got the better of Kendall, blocking the forward’s long-range effort.
Boston took the lead in the 72nd minute as Semple again sprinted beyond the helpless Roma, pitching in a perfect cross which Suarez forced home with a thunderous header.
But jubilation was soon turned to worry as Trinity’s Clarke was stretchered off after coming off worse in a 50-50 challenge with Boston substitute Marc Newsham.
As the match wore on, Trinity got more and more desperate, but their heavy legs reduced them to wayward long-distance shots from Kendall and McMahon.
As the whistle finally signalled full time, United’s players raised their arms aloft and Trinity’s squad members dropped their heads.
It may not have been an important league match, but it was Boston who drew first blood and made their statement of intent.
United will face the winners of Grantham Town and Stamford, who meet one another on Saturday.
A date for the final is yet to be determined.
TRINITY: Phil Barnes, Dominic Roma, Andrew Boyce, Gavin Cowan, Rory Coleman, Ryan Williams (Michael Leary 60), Shane Clarke (Luke Waterfall 80), Jonathan D’Laryea, Jamie Yates (Lewis McMahon 60), Darryn Stamp, Ryan Kendall; Subs (not used): Ryan Paczkowski, Mark Gray.
UNITED: Paul Bastock, Lee Canoville, Tom Ward, Kevin Austin, Gareth Jelleyman, Ben Wilkinson (Danny Sleath 60), Chris Hall, Ben Milnes, Ryan Semple, Mikel Suarez, Kevin Holsgrove (Marc Newsham 67); Subs (not used): Julian Joachim, Mickey Stones, Jordan Fairclough.