Southport 2-3 Pilgrims
With Dagenham & Redbridge winning their early kick-off match against Morecambe, the Pilgrims knew they had to avoid defeat at Southport to maintain their advantage at the top of the Conference. It was typical bank holiday weather; cold, wet and windy and Southport soon took advantage of the wind blowing towards the Boston goal and began to dominate. After a Boston attack broke down, Simon Parke had a clear run at goal but shot just wide, then on ten minutes Southport took the lead. In the blustery conditions, a cross from the right by LANE deceived Paul Bastock and swirled into the goal at the back post. Bastock had to make a great save to deny Parke just before half-time. In the second half, with the wind now at their backs, Boston were beginning to create chances. But it was Southport who increased their lead after 65 minutes. In a rare period of sustained Southport pressure, Boston were having trouble clearing the ball from a corner and when the ball fell into the path of PARKE, he had no trouble in driving the ball home.
With twenty minutes left, Boston finally got on the scoresheet. Clifford broke down the right wing and sent in an inch perfect cross onto the head of CLARE who diverted the ball beyond the reach of keeper Steve Dickinson into the corner of the net. In their search for an equalizer, Boston first brought on Cook for Gould to increase the attacking options, then Costello to replace a tiring Murphy. Going into injury time CLARE struck a dramatic equalizer, firing home after latching on to a through ball from Cook, but the match was far from over. The Pilgrims had time for one more attack on the Southport goal and in the dying seconds won a corner. Angel fired a great inswinger into the heart of the area and Shaun TEALE mistimed his header to send the ball looping over his own keeper and give Boston the winner in a match that just a few minutes earlier had looked totally lost.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould (Cook 69), 4. Ellender, 5. Warburton, 6. Rodwell, 7. Brown, 8. Murphy (Costello 81), 9. Clare, 10. Rusk, 11. Angel. Subs not used: Lodge, Town, Conroy.
Match report by Ken Fox.