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Pilgrims 0-0 Southport

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

It took a dramatic goal-line clearance to preserve a point for Boston United after plenty of pressure, territorial advantage and chances created had gone before. That was the general analysis of a largely fruitless afternoon for the Pilgrims who in the process recorded their first involvement in a scoreless draw for nearly 10 months. Opponents Southport were clearly happy with their share of the spoils. But that didn't cut any ice with United boss Steve Evans. He said: "It was all very frustrating and we are struggling to get a goal at the moment. But again, this proved that winning Conference matches is never easy. "I felt we played with good width and created a lot of opportunities. But it's always difficult to combat teams who are happy to sit with 10 players behind the ball." On a day when Boston gave a debut to loanee defender Dion Scott signed on a one-month deal from First Division Walsall and a rare starting appearance for striker Anthony Elding, they enjoyed long spells of ascendancy without being able to convert dominance into goals. Early on, the Pilgrims went close with a Mark Angel shot which tested keeper Steve Dickinson. Then Ross Weatherstone flashed a header a fraction off target from an Angel corner before midfielder Simon Rusk had cause to curse his luck when a shot from distance bounced off the top of the bar. In reply, Southport's first genuine attempt arrived on 17 minutes when Lee Elam got behind the home defence but fired wildly over as Paul Bastock dashed out.

The visitors also went close in the 30th minute when Simon Parke flicked the ball to strike partner Steve Whitehall but his tame effort flew straight at Bastock. Boston finished the first half on top with Dickinson saving well from a Simon Weatherstone drive and then expertly kept out a header from the impressive Scott following a partially cleared Angel corner. Southport briefly made inroads at the start of the second half with Parke heading just wide in the 56th minute from a Chris Lane cross and then Elam forcing Bastock to tip a chip shot to safety off the bar. Back at the other end, it was Dickinson again who showed safe handling on 67 minutes when keeping out a Mickey Brown header after star man Elding had cleverly helped on a James Gould throw-in. Seven minutes later more Boston pressure followed and Brown got on the end of build-up play from Elding and Daryl Clare only to see Dickinson again save well. In the dying throes, both sides had a chance to score with Neil Grayston for Southport firing at Bastock and then Brown forcing a tip-over save from Dickinson with a header from Simon Weatherstone's corner. Real drama then unfolded deep into stoppage time when Scott crowned a fine debut with an heroic goal-line clearance after Whitehall had skipped round Bastock, fired towards a gaping net and seemed an almost certain scorer.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould (Town 80), 4. R. Weatherstone, 5. Scott, 6. Rusk, 7. Brown, 8. Elding, 9. Clare, 10. S. Weatherstone, 11. Angel (Cook 46). Subs (not used): Murphy, Lodge, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.