STAMFORD 3 BOSTON UNITED 3: Chippendale hits a hat-trick as Daniels and Pilgrims share the spoils in a heated summer clash
Stamford and Boston United shared the spoils in a contest which, at times, made something of a mockery of the term pre-season friendly.
As temperatures rose above 25C at the Zeeco Stadium, the action on the turf was certainly fiery in this six-goal battle.
With challenges uncompromising and both sides visibly up for it, the contest produced a hat-trick for United’s Callum Chippendale and a collectors’ item for Niall Mather.
Daniels attacker Ryan Robbins wildly celebrated a goal against the club which released him earlier this year while defender Delroy Gordon also got his name on the scoresheet.
And there was also time for a heated exchange between Boston manager Dennis Greene and defender Courtney Wildin following an eighth-minute substitution, three yellow cards and as many horrible misses from the home team’s Jevani Brown.
It’s fair to say referee Alistair Wilson has quieter Saturdays.
Daniels boss Graham Drury had a brief spell in the United dug-out, and he has assembled a squad featuring plenty of faces still familiar at the Jakemans Stadium.
Paul Bastock - the Pilgrims’ all-time appearance record holder - was joined in the starting line-up by fellow ex-Boston players Tommy Cooney, Jordan Smith and Robbins, while Sam Mulready took his place on the bench.
Greene didn’t have Nat Brown, Jay Rollins, Lewis Hilliard, Kalern Thomas, Joe Burgess and Shane Clarke at his disposal this afternoon, while Malachi Lavelle-Moore has left to find another club.
Within the opening 10 minutes there were already enough signs that friendly was going to be used in the loosest terms possible as Boston’s Joe Maguire was left needing treatment after Daniels’ burly target man Greg Smith was second to the ball, but forceful in his folow-through.
Either side of that challenge Stamford’s Brown was left wondering how he hadn’t had his name on the scoresheet at least once.
Twice he was unmarked and presented with a simple volley at goal from close range. Once he airkicked, then he somehow forced the ball over when even better placed.
Robbins, released by United in the summer, looked like a man with a point to prove and was having fun down the right flank against Wildin, part of an experimental back three alongside Maguire and an unnamed trialist.
That was until the eighth minute when Wildin was called from the pitch and replaced by Herve Pepe-Ngoma, leaving the defender and manager exchanges words on the touchline, but Wildin returning for the second half.
The away side took a 21st-minute lead from the penalty spot, Chippendale squeezing his strike beyond Bastock’s dive after Sam Hill - one of three players to be booked in the first half, along with Robbins and Marcus Marshall - was adjudged to have handled in the box.
Greg Smith thought he had levelled minutes later, only for a raised flag to leave him having words with assistant Mark Webster.
But when Stamford did square things up again it was in the most eyecatching of ways, Mather curling home a 25-yard left footer which beat the dive of Christian Dibble and found the top corner.
The opening 45 still had time for Brown to complete a hat-trick of misses to forget. Put through one-on-one against Dibble he again went for power and - again - saw a decent chance fly high into the stand.
The second half began as the first ended, with Brown through on goal. But this time a good effort brought out a firm one-handed save from Dibble.
Robbins got his goal in the 54th minute, heading home from a Stamford corner before offering a passionate celebration.
It was his last offering of the day as Drury made six changes straight after the goal.
While the new-look Stamford side were finding their feet Boston turned the screw, Lamin Colley heading against Bastock’s post before Chippendale’s follow-up was handled by Tom Batchelor, but the closeness of the defender to the strike saw referee Wilson shake his head and turn.
Marshall then curled one wide before Chippendale levelled the score with a left-footer from the edge of the penalty area in the 66th minute.
But just three minutes later Drury’s boys were in front again.
A deep coner was missed by Dibble and Delroy Gordon, charging in at the back post, had an open goal to aim for.
Back came Boston with Maguire’s header being well held by Bastock.
But Chippendale completed his treble with 10 minutes to go, firing another powerful drive home from the edge of the box, this time with his right foot.
And that was about as far as the action went.
The contest was tough at times, but you’ll struggle to find many warm-up games quite as exciting.
It was a game both sides played to win, but both had to settle for a draw.
STAMFORD: Bastock, Gordon, Cooney, Malone Challinor 56), Batchelor, Hill (Hall 56), Mather, J. Smith (Hartley 56 (Hill 83)), G. Smith (King 56), Brown (Mulready 56), Robbins (Wells 56); Subs (not usded): McMillan.
UNITED: Dibble, Trialist, Wildin (Pepe-Ngoma 8), Roberts (Johnson 78), Maguire, Green (Wildin HT), Marshall, Chippendale, Fairhurst (Adams 53), Colley, St Juste; Subs (not used): Emery.
Ref: Alistair Wilson.