Pilgrims 2-1 Telford United
by Barbara Singleton
Mark Rawle was the late, late hero for Boston United. The strike ace smashed in a 20-yard goal two minutes into second half stoppage time as the Pilgrims completed a fightback victory over a dogged Telford outfit. Rawle seized possession outside the box after the ball broke free to him following a raid down the right by fellow substitute Daniel French. He instantly whacked a thunderous shot beyond the reach of Ryan Price to settle the destiny of three more Conference points. The goal clinched a win which for long spells had seemed unlikely to materialise - despite the fact that Telford played for 74 minutes with only 10 men after Brian McGorry's dismissal for stamping on Boston skipper Jim Dick in a midfield tangle. The visitors had, in fact, snatched an interval lead when the impressive Gary MARTINDALE cashed in on a woeful 42nd minute headed back-pass by Tim Wooding and fired beneath the advancing Paul Bastock. It was a lead Telford arguably deserved with Boston turning in a largely subdued first 45 minutes. However, the home side responded nine minutes into the second period when Ken CHARLERY swivelled to sweetly convert a left-wing centre from Paul Raynor and lay the platform for the Pilgrims' eventual success. The win was Boston's fifth in six matches and hoisted them into eighth spot in the table.
But it was achieved with less flourish than any of the previous four. However, the maximum points haul was solid reward against well-organised opponents. The Pilgrims started off brightly with Paul Fewings' diving header from a Wooding cross bringing a good save from Price. There followed more spells of pressure, but half-chances for Fewings and Charlery plus an off-target header by Raynor was the best they could conjure up. Telford, despite their early handicap, often looked potent on the break with Gez Murphy and Martindale scooping efforts too high. Later on Martindale sent a near post header wide, while Neil Moore ventured upfield and cracked a 30-yard drive straight at Bastock. Before drawing level, Boston had been denied an equaliser when Jason Minett was thwarted at close range by Ryan, who then stood up to block a Fewings shot. Later on, more creativity down the flanks by Wooding, French, Lucas and Raynor imposed plenty of pressure on the Telford rearguard. But the visitors held on grittily and used the counter-attack springboard to good effect with Murphy blasting an angled drive just wide and then Martindale seeing a fierce effort well saved by Bastock. Manager Steve Evans threw on RAWLE three minutes from the end of normal time. And the gamble paid off big-style with the strike hero's last-gasp contribution.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Wooding, 3. Lucas, 4. Curtis (Rawle 87), 5. Gowshall, 6. Wilson, 7. Minett (French 57), 8. Charlery, 9. Raynor, 10. Fewings, 11. Dick. Subs (not used): Stanhope, Lodge, Martin (gk).