Wigan offering even more Premier entertainment

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WIGAN Athletic won’t be the first Premier League side to grace the Jakemans Stadium in recent years.

Sports editor Duncan Browne takes a look back at the top flight clubs which have tried - and sometimes failed - to get the better of the Pilgrims...

Boston United 1

Manchester United 1

When? 25/07/2001.

Premier opposition? Not really, although Alan Tate now plays for Swansea, Ben Muirhead had a stint at Bradford City and Daniel Nardiello turned out for QPR.

What happened? More than 5,000 fans crammed into York Street to watch Boston take on the Red Devils’ youngsters. Although not quite the class of ‘92, the United players made it an exciting game. Muirhead netted a screamer on the stroke of half time, beating two men and firing home a 20-yarder into Paul Bastock’s top corner.

Ross Weatherstone headed home Boston’s equaliser.

Boston United 3

Bolton Wanderers 4

When? 30/07/2001.

Premier opposition? Michael Ricketts, Paul Warhurst, David Norris. Per Frandsen.

What happened? The friendly was agreed after Sam Allardyce signed David Norris from the Pilgrims and sent his son, defender Craig, this way. Seven months after this fixture, Ricketts earned an England cap, but at York Street he had a stinker. The press box was filled with Japanese journalists eager to see how new signing Akinori Nishizawa performed. He bagged a hat-trick before a non-descript career in the Premier League. Simon Weatherstone (two) and Mark Monington looked to earn United a draw before Per Frandsen’s late winner.

Boston United 5

Liverpool 2

When? 11/12/2001.

Premier opposition? Neil Mellor, Stephen Warnock, John Otsemobor, Frode Kippe.

What happened? Boston blew a lack-lustre Liverpool XI, made up mostly of the under 19s, out of the water. Johns Miles and Welsh scored for Liverpool, but these were mere consolations as Boston netted through James Gould (two), Simon Weatherstone, Jamie Cook and Micky Brown. Kippe – who had cost Liverpool £700,000 - was largely ineffective, while Mellor and Warnock went on to star for the Reds’ first team. The attendance was more than 3,500.

Boston United 0

Leicester City 2

When? 24/10/2001.

Premier opposition? Frank Sinclair, Ade Akinbiyi, James Scowcroft, Andy Impey.

What happened? Akinbiyi’s goal drought continued when Paul Bastock made a number of saves to deny the high-profile striker, but Leicester – managed by newly-instated duo Dave Bassett and Mickey Adams – won comfortably thanks to goals from Scowcroft and Kevin Ellison. On the Foxes’ bench were Trevor Benjamin and Danny Thomas, both of whom later played for Boston.

Boston United 1

Fulham 4

When? 22/09/2004.

Premier opposition? Steed Malbranque, Brian McBride, Tomas Radzinski, Mark Crossley, Luis Boa Morte, Paul Gascoigne.

What happened? This Carling Cup fixture was the first time a top-flight side played at York Street in a competitive fixture since Derby County’s 6-1 success in 1974. Fulham weren’t shy in rolling out the big guns and it was Canadian international Tomas Radzinski (two), USA international Brian McBride and French international squad member Steed Malbranque who grabbed the winning goals. Boston could boast Paul Gascoigne in their ranks but, once again, he was dire, replaced in the 61st-minute by a more enthusiastic Simon Rusk. Boston scored through their Wales under 21 international Lee Beevers, while Dean West made his debut and was stretchered off in the first half after a head injury, although he did manage the full 90 minutes. Fulham’s Liam Rosenior was sent off late on.