Kidderminster Harriers 0-0 Boston United
by Barbara Singleton
Boston have taken a step closer towards completing their "catch-up" mission on the rest of the Third Division. That was perhaps the best and only really positive overall analysis of a generally uneventful 90 minutes of action at Kidderminster's Aggborough ground. It was a day when Boston United had been hoping to truly kick-start their climb from the basement rung of the Football League ladder. But in the end they had to settle for a fourth draw from their seven outings so far. The fact that Saturday's blank scoreline gave Kidderminster their fifth draw of the new campaign arguably serves to illustrate how difficult both sides are to beat. Certainly the "draw factor" was stamped all over this encounter right from the outset, a match in which Boston were without striker Daryl Clare - the victim of a training injury 24 hours before kick-off. In his absence, acting manager Neil Thompson utilised Stuart Douglas alongside the versatile and forceful presence of Paul Ellender whose role in attack brought back memories of his occasional front-line duties in distant UniBond League days with Gainsborough Trinity. To be fair, both players grafted hard to try and conjure up what might have been a telling breakthrough. But despite plenty of positive running by Douglas and no shortage of physical muscle (and a fair slice of skill) by Ellender, there was generally a dearth of productive service for either. It was only in the latter stages of the opening period and then for a brief spell midway in the second half, when some crosses were whipped in, that Boston really showed any prospect of carving out a goal. But there was plenty to admire about Boston's defensive resolution - again with Ray Warburton in tandem with the impressive Mark Greaves a major force at the back. The general picture in the opening half was one of Kidderminster possibly shading the territorial advantage and perhaps creating the better of the few clear-cut chances.
But towards the interval Boston came back into the picture, notably with Ellender and Douglas doing well in their makeshift front line partnership. The Pilgrims generally struggled to piece together any genuinely potent threats or telling moments of creativity in a somewhat dull first 45 minutes. It took fully half-an-hour for Boston to get a foothold, although an over-reliance on long ball tactics did not really produce the required results - chiefly because the hoisted forward passes mainly went in the direction of the more diminutive Douglas rather than the much greater frame of Ellender. However, there were moments of spark to at least trigger hope among the ranks of travelling supporters. One of these saw Ellender show neat control from a dropping ball and just miss out with a left-foot shot which flashed inches too high. Then, towards the interval Douglas made good use of his speed and close control when latching onto a pass from Simon Weatherstone only to see his low drive well held by Stuart Brock. Little composure was witnessed in the central area of the park from either side when more perhaps had been expected from Boston, at least from the likes of Simon Weatherstone and Neil Redfearn. Things did slip into a smoother gear after the break, but again neither side showed enough cutting edge or belief in their abilities. Bastock only had a couple of half-scares to occupy his thoughts in the second half. Boston though were also bereft of ideas for lengthy spells, although once they started to use the width offered by Simon Rusk on the right and Mark Angel on the left, victory did look a possibility. The best opportunities from these sources came around the mid-way point of the second half when Ellender and Douglas both came within a whisker of cashing in. There will, no doubt, be one or two disappointed comments from certain quarters connected to the Boston camp. But success doesn't come overnight. And at least from the foundations of a resolute defensive platform, there is every chance of developing some forward-minded prowess.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Rusk (Clifford 80), 3. Greaves, 4. Hocking, 5. Gould, 6. Redfearn, 7. Warburton, 8. S Weatherstone, 9. Douglas (Cook 86), 10. Ellender, 11. Angel. Subs (not used): Burton, Thompson, Conroy (gk).
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.