Walker returns but Wafula limps off as Boston United and Grantham Town play out goalless draw
Boston United and Grantham Town played out a goalless draw at the Meres.
The mix-and-match United side, including the players shortest on minutes so far this summer, failed to replicate the exciting highs of the previous warm-up games.
For Boston the positive of Nicky Walker looking fresh as he returned from injury was balanced out by Jonathan Wafula hobbling down the tunnel with ice on his knee.
Craig Elliott expected a physical test for his Pilgrims, but found himself locked in an early war of words with his former player Gregg Smith after the big striker left Alex Whittle in a crumpled heap.
That wasn’t the only naughty challenge in what proved the most combative of so-called friendlies United have faced this summer.
Both sides lacked real fluency in a goalless opening 45 minutes, although Wafula tested the trialist between the Grantham sticks with a 20-tard fizzer and George Green slashed a couple of hopeful efforts off target.
Walker was playing his first minutes since picking up a knee injury at Blyth on April 6, but he wasn’t showing any signs of faitgue, making space for himself down the wing and teeing up Tom Clare whose header was misdirected.
For Grantham, Smith’s header looped over George Willis’ goal and a corner bounced off the top of the Boston bar.
United lost Wafula to injury eights minutes into the second half after the midfielder hurt his knee overstretching for the ball, Shaun Tuton leading a series of Boston chnages which included Peter Crook, Jordan Thewlis, Ben Middleton, Tom Platt and Brad Abbott joining the action.
Green continued to try his luck from distance before Thewlis’ stinger was spilled by the Gingerbreads’ number one, only for the trialist to make amends and react first to the loose ball.
Trialist Will Taylor, who came through the Hull City academy, was Boston’s final substitution of the evening, arriving on the scene just as Town’s Craig Westcar drilled a free kick over Crook’s bar.
The final minute brought the best chance of the game, but Smith’s close ranger was held on the line by Crook.
GRANTHAM: Trialist, McGovern, Trialist (Bartle 61), Atkinson, Ward, Toxtle (Tweed 48), Baxendale, Berrett, Westcarr, Smith, Trialist (Goncalves 49) ; Subs (not used): Broadhead, Andrew.
UNITED: Willis (Crook 60), Byrne, Whittle, Thanoj (Platt 69), Ainge, Shiels, Rollins (Middleton 65), Wafula (Tuton 53), Clare (Thewlis 60), Green, Walker (Abbott 69); Subs (not used): Taylor.
REF: Will Murray.