Boston United 1 Grimsby Town 1
(Jordan Thewlis (pen) 49, Karl Byrne 86; Matt Green 64)
A 30-yard wonder strike from trialist Karl Byrne saw Boston United begin their pre-season with a 2-1 victory over League Two Grimsby Town.
The Irishman, who played at Frickley last season, has caught Craig Elliott’s eye in training - and the fans’ tonight with his splendid strike, doing the right back’s hopes of earning a deal no harm.
Jordan Thewlis slotted home a confident penalty for the Pilgrims while Matt Green scored for the Mariners.
Of course, it’s far too early to begin making bold predictions, especially at a stage of the summer when squads aren’t complete, fitness levels are to be improved and passing often leaves plenty to be desired.
But there was still enough to catch the eye and offer plenty for discussion.
For the Pilgrims, Thewlis looked a lively, exciting addition to the attack as he put himself about.
And while it is yet to be decided whether Craig Elliott’s United reboot is better, they certainly look bigger. The towering figures of Tom Platt, Peter Crook, Luke Shiels and Simon Ainge adding a more confident look as the hosts defended set pieces in their box.
A late change to the Pilgrims’ XI saw Tom Clare replace Dominic Knowles, while former United players James McKeown, Max Wright and Ahkeem Rose made the Mariners’ starting line-up.
It was Clare who was gifted the first real chance of the game midway through the first half following Thewlis’ determination and Ashley Jackson’s cross, but the big striker glanced his header wide from a promising position.
As the contest opened up, and those overhit passes began to find their range, Rose saw a daring overhead kick fly wide of Peter Crook’s goal while Boston saw chances for Thewlis and Jay Rollins thwarted by the dive of McKeown and a sliding challenge from Matthew Pollock.
Thewlis put the Pilgrims ahead in the 49th minute from the spot, powering his effort high into the roof of the net after being upended by Pollock.
In the 58th minute the two sides made a combined 16 changes, Ben Middleton, Tom Platt, Clare and Rollins remaining on the pitch for the Pilgrims while Grimsby’s two trialists were given longer to impress.
Six minutes later and Mariners summer signing Matt Green evened things up as he converted from close range.
But the laugh belonged to Byrne.
UNITED (from) Crook, Middleton, Jackson, Thanoj, Ainge, Shiels, Platt, Abbott, Knowles, Thewlis, Rollins; Green, Wafula, Clare, Whittle, Trialist A, Trialist B, Byrne, Willis; Sub (not used): Walker.
GRIMSBY: McKeown, Trialist A, Ring, Pollock, Trialist B, Hessenthaler, Hendrie, Clifton, Rose, Buckley, Wright; Ohman, Davis, Curran, Hewitt, Whitehouse, Ogbu, Green, Hanson, Russell.
REF: Kevin Friend.