UNITED 2 - 1 Boston

Last updated : 03 January 2004 By Al Woodcock
Matty Fryatt
Fryatt: Scored first goal for United to clinch win
United's great escape bid gathered momentum after this hard fought 2-1 victory over Boston United at Brunton Park.

The unbeaten run, now standing at four games, is their longest in nearly two seasons. Without central defender Paul Raven, Paul Simpson decided to stick with the same players that finished the game against Darlington last Sunday. Will McDonagh stayed in defence with Peter Murphy slotting into central midfield alongside ever-present Chris Billy.

It was the home side who made all the running in the opening quarter of the match, but they were stung by a shock goal from the Pilgrims after eight minutes. Simpson's early left wing cross in found Brendan McGill's head but he couldn't quite control it and the ball flew wide. The Walsall youngster Matt Fryatt should have put the Cumbrians ahead when he was put through on goal but Pilgrims custodian Paul Bastock got down to block his shot with his legs. Graeme Jones punished those wasted chances by nipping into space on the edge of the box to turn the ball past the exposed Matty Glennon after a pass in from Ben Chapman.

Carlisle's response was not long in coming. On 11 minutes Simpson's free kick was well tipped over by Paul Bastock. The player-manager's right wing corner found the foot of Boston's Chapman who only succeeded in turning the ball into his own net. Simpson was unlucky not to get on the end of Matty Fryatt's cross after the 17-year-old on loan striker put in a very good run to the byline. The Cumbrians were controlling midfield with Billy as usual seeing a lot of the ball and Simpson linking the play with the strikers effectively.

After their initial burst, United failed to maintain the pace and by half-time Boston had managed to pull themselves back into the game although Glennon was relatively untroubled in front of his re-shaped defence.

The second half saw United up the pace a little in an attempt to get back on top. Nobody was doing more to push the visitors back than pacy winger McGill. It was his pursuit of a deep pass on the hour that led to the winning goal. Having got to the ball and beaten Chapman, he delivered a perfect hanging cross for Fryatt to arrive and head the vital second, his first for United.

Boston refused to lie down and came back into the game as it moved into its final stages. They brought on veteran midfield schemer Neil Redfearn. Murphy came off to be replaced by Kevin Henderson. The substitute almost had reason to rue his missed opportunity that would have made the game safe. He collected Fryatt's pass with the goal gaping but his first touch was not the best and Bastock came off his line to block.

Bastock was then in bother when he reacted with anger to a shove from Henderson near the touchline. After pushing the striker to the ground, he looked relieved when referee Webb waved only a yellow. Boston camped themselves in Carlisle's half as the game went into stoppage time. They came mighty close when Redfearn's long range shot came off the underside of the bar, but the ball bounced to safety and Glennon claimed the resulting corner with a good catch to seal the victory.

Al's verdict: Just the display and result we needed after the disappointment of not getting the three points against Darlo. McGill, Fryatt and Preece all had good games up front and I feel now that our attack looks capable of scoring in every game. We still defend with a lack of composure at times, and that needs looking at, but overall Simmo must be delighted with the way the players have responded to the Christmas and New Year challenge. After losing 12 on the trot, we've gone four unbeaten and the gap to Darlo is down to six points with a game in hand. It's still a big task but little by little we are getting there. Bring on the York!