Elsewhere – 5th March

Wednesday, 5 March 2003, 0:00
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Swansea manager Brian Flynn criticised referee Paul Taylor after his side were held to a goalless draw at home to relegation rivals Boston. The visitors had Tom Bennett and Stuart Douglas sent off and Flynn said: "Boston are doing the same as us – they are fighting for their lives. And all we ask is that players are allowed to play. I will be making my views known about the referee when I send off my report. "It turned out to be eight of their players in the box with eight of ours, and the result was stalemate. It felt as though we had lost, particularly as we had a numerical advantage at the end, but that could be a vital point for us come the end of the season. "We need a better cutting edge in the box, but that is not just down to the strikers. If we keep creating chances we will score goals, but we have to be far more clinical. "We don’t need to rely on other results because everyone at this club is focused on the job at hand. "Teams come here and put four or five in the middle to snuff out our midfield, and so the front men get little service."
Swans draw upsets Flynn

Both managers were scathing about the performance of referee Paul Taylor following Swansea City’s 0-0 draw at home to Boston United.

A tough six-pointer ended with the Pilgrims reduced to nine men, with Mr Taylor having also dished out ten yellow cards during a tough encounter at the Vetch Field.

After the goalless encounter, Swans boss Brian Flynn said: "I will be making my views known about the referee in my report. All we ask is that when players go on to the field they are allowed to play.

"It turned out to be eight of their men in the box with eight of ours, with the result a stalemate.

Pilgrims manager Neil Thompson added: "The referee was very poor.

"It is about time that someone on high realises that this is our living. We want to survive, but people are put in charge and do not do their jobs correctly."

Lincolnshire Echo

Boston United made a real point at the Vetch Field of their continuing capacity to deny the odds stacked against them. The Pilgrims were famously docked four points before the season started after being found guilty of financial irregularities. That disadvantage, whether you believe it to be fair or not, has since been erased by successful performances on the pitch. United are by no means safe, but they are still above several clubs who started the campaign with a clean slate. Last night in south Wales, the York Street-based outfit were forced to contend with two dismissals that again blighted their drive toward Football League safety. Neutrals may say complaints about Tom Bennett and Stuart Douglas’ red cards could be construed as sour grapes. True, but when you consider referee Paul Taylor had sent-off three, and booked 10, in his previous outing at Mansfield on Saturday then perhaps those worries gain extra validity. Either way, nine-man United still managed to secure a point at what must surely be one of the most hostile grounds in the Third Division. The arduous four-and-a-half hour drive to this dank and dilapidated stadium on a mean and rainy March night seemed certain to present a real test of character. The vociferous 6,600-strong home crowd, with numbers swollen through a cut-price admission scheme, did everything they could to try and prompt the Swans away from the feared two relegation spots. But the 77 travelling fans, and 1970s Pilgrims hero Jim Kabia who was sat in the East Stand, had hopes raised with the sight of influential defender Stuart Balmer warming up on the sodden surface. Balmer missed Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Oxford’s superb Kassam Stadium and while last night’s game was a long way from that encounter, in terms of distance and surroundings, this game was arguably even more important due to the clubs’ respective positions. The Swans huddled in a group before kick-off amid a massive roar from the terraces. Boston boss Neil Thompson had Matt Hocking in the right back berth, while Peter Costello was pushed forward to the right wing. Defender Mark Greaves was absent after his girlfriend gave birth yesterday, with Paul Ellender in the centre of defence alongside Balmer. The large crowd chanted their approval of early home attacks although the first real chance, from Kevin Nugent, was too long and trickled out of play. Chapman soon burst into action when John Williams attempted a run down the right. He slid in on the muddy surface and knocked the ball out in front of the packed West Stand. Logan did try a hopeful ball toward Peter Costello but it had too much pace and was harmlessly collected by the Swans defence. The Pilgrims first cohesive move of the half came when Douglas surged to the edge of the box. He was on the verge of a shooting opportunity but hadn’t reckoned on a superbly timed tackle by strong skipper Jason Smith. Andrew Mumford bypassed Costello with alarming ease on the right and City should have opened the scoring when Martinez lofted a quality ball into the box. Williams was unmarked and had a clear header, in a replica of the two goals conceded at Oxford, but could not get proper direction on his effort and it skewed out of play. Bennett tried to square to Logan but the former Ipswich striker had run too far forward. A minute later Boston nearly broke the deadlock themselves when a Neil Redfearn free-kick sailed straight to the far post to be met by Balmer. He nodded sweetly to the target but was denied by a cracking fingertip save from Neil Cutler. Bennett burst free after Weatherstone had initiated a swift counterattack and only just blasted wide from 25-yards out. Moments later the referee spoke to Falkirk-born Bennett after a harsh tackle in front of the West Stand. The crowd chanted: ‘you dirty English …. ,’ obviously unaware of his proud Scottish heritage. Boston had found their groove but Swansea nearly hit the visitors on the break when Mumford slid an effort across goal. Douglas was booked for diving in the 37th minute after a tussle with Leon Britton. Redfearn was next to be carded, in the 40th minute for a foul, then Bennett received a caution straight afterwards for a cynical challenge on Martinez from behind. Richards was booked in injury time for a foul at the end of this incident-packed first-half. Swansea went straight on the attack after the restart and a Williams effort immediately tested Bastock. A strong challenge from Kristian O’Leary stopped Logan in his tracks but Douglas managed to win a free-kick after he was bundled to the floor. Redfearn floated that into the box but neither Balmer nor Douglas could get a foot to it as it ran loose. Bastock somehow snatched Hilton’s long ball out of the air but when United raced the ball to the other end Costello should have done better than fire at Cutler from close range. The game changed dramatically when Bennett was sent off in the 68th minute after he was deemed to have fouled Martinez. But despite their advantage City seemed incapable of threading much together in the final third. The United cause suffered another hammer blow when Douglas was sent off in the 81st minute for a foul on Jenkins to leave United with nine men. Logan was booked in the 83rd minute and was immediately substituted for Simon Rusk. Bastock somehow kept out a Nugent header, then Watkin was booked for pushing the goalkeeper over the line after he caught a cross. It was a deserved point although Boston could even count themselves unlucky not to escape with all three on a dark and dingy night in South Wales.

LIncolnshire Echo
NEIL LEFT FUMING 10:30 – 05 March 2003

Joyous Boston United manager Neil Thompson said last night’s goalless draw at fellow Division Three strugglers Swansea City was in spite of ‘the worst refereeing performance of the season’. The Pilgrims were reduced to nine men when referee Paul Taylor dismissed Tom Bennett and Stuart Douglas in the second half of this basement tussle, both for two bookable offences. Thompson believes the official, who also cautioned Paul Ellender, Neil Redfearn and Richard Logan, had a major impact on the final outcome of the game at Vetch Field. "It was a fantastic result but you have to ask questions about the referee," fumed Thompson. "This is a contact sport and you have to expect a bit of rough-and-tumble. But there were decisions given against silly little schoolboy things. It wasn’t a vicious game and Tom’s first booking was undeserved."

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