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Margate 1-1 Pilgrims

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Striker Anthony Elding was the super-sub hero for Boston United as the Pilgrims retained a grip on a table-top spot. The 19-year-old front man grabbed an 79th minute equaliser to ensure Steve Evans' side stayed ahead of main Conference title rivals Dagenham & Redbridge who also shared the spoils on their long haul to Southport. The goal by Elding came in response to a spectacular 30-yard goal on 50 minutes from Terry McFlynn which had threatened to halt an unbeaten league run of 10 matches which Boston's took into Saturday's encounter in deepest Kent. Boston dug deep into the reserves of character and determination which have been the hallmarks of their season-long impressive away form. And with a better rub of the green, they might even have fully avenged an opening day 1-0 reverse against Margate at York Street. However, an away point in any league competition is useful. Early exchanges at Margate were generally fairly even with neither side really carving out any genuinely clear-cut opportunities. United's best opening arrived on 29 minutes when Paul Ellender fed a pass through to Angel. But, with only Turner to beat, he dragged his shot wide of the target. Margate responded with a 32nd minute edge-of-the-box free-kick by Paul Lamb which was eventually cleared by the Pilgrims' rearguard.

Lamb was in the action again three minutes later when being lucky to receive only a yellow card for an horrendous lunging tackle on Angel which led to the United man being stretchered off to hospital. Home keeper Turner did well to hold a David Town shot almost on his own line four minutes into the second half following good creative work by Clare and substitute Jamie Cook. But 60 seconds later Margate went ahead with a goal of spectacular style - midfielder Terry MCFLYNN seizing possession and unleashing a stunning 35-yard rocket beyond the reach of Paul Bastock. Boston sought an instant reply and Simon Rusk twice went close to achieving that aim, first seeing a low shot saved by Turner and then when heading wide from Town's 58th minute cross. United's equaliser came 11 minutes from time when ELDING made his mark, picking up possession on the edge of the area, evading a couple of challenges and then squeezing in a low shot past Turner. Boston had loanee Dion Scott to thank for preserving a point in the dying moments when he hooked the ball off the line to thwart Phil Collins after Bastock had parried a Braithwaite effort. And then, deep into added time Collins was red-carded for making gestures at United's contingent of travelling fans.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould (Elding 75), 4. R Weatherstone, 5. Scott, 6. Ellender, 7. Rusk (Costello 61), 8. Town, 9. Clare, 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Angel (Cook 38). Subs (not used): Lodge, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.