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Kidderminster Harriers 2-0 Pilgrims

Nationwide League

by Craig Singleton of the Target

Boston United rounded off the season in the fashion they least wanted. Defeat at Kidderminster brought a touch of deflation to the Pilgrims’ camp. And the disappointment was heightened a degree when, with Swansea scraping a 0-0 draw with already-relegated York, Steve Evans and his men saw 10th place in the table disappear - but 11th spot still creditably means the highest-ever finishing position for United in the football ladder. Boston slipped up to a goal in each half of an encounter which never really hit any great heights. The opening phases of the match saw Kidderminster hold the upper hand for much of the time. And they went close to breaking the deadlock on a few occasions. The Harriers’ attacking intent was illustrated in only the second minute when a cross from Matt Gadsby was met by Simon Brown, but his effort flew off target. Moments later the experienced figure of John Williams nearly got on the scoresheet, but he shot over following a Scott Stamps corner. Boston were struggling to impose themselves on the match and they had to thank skipper Paul Ellender for a good block when Williams threatened again. Further near misses then followed from Wayne Hatswell and Brown before Boston really showed themselves as an attacking force with Lee Thompson and Graeme Jones both starting to make their presences felt up front. But the Pilgrims fell behind on 22 minutes with something of an unfortunate goal.

Brown drilled in a shot from distance. The ball rattled off a post and then bounced into the net off the tumbling body of United keeper Paul BASTOCK. Boston tried to hit back and almost drew level on 27 minutes when a David Noble free-kick took a deflection and rattled away off the home bar. Boston kept up their improved momentum and Thompson managed to get in a header, but again the ball missed the target. But arguably the best chance of a United first half equaliser came just before the break when Steve Melton burst clear but was denied when keeper Stuart Brock superbly tipped away the Boston player’s well-struck 10-yard drive. After the break, Abdou Sall’s header from a corner was hacked off the line by Jones, before Brown fizzed an effort just over after Boston had only partially cleared another flag-kick. The visitors sought a reply and Melton’s whipped centre from the left just evaded the run of Beevers at the back post as Boston searched for a route back into the match. Boston adjusted their formation to 3-5-2 initially, and then 3-4-3, with the respective introductions of Stuart Balmer and Kevan Hurst, but they were hit by a sucker-punch on 73 minutes when WILLIAMS drilled home following Gadsby’s run and ball inside from the left-wing. Boston redoubled their efforts to get on the scoresheet, with Jones twice seeing efforts drift off target as he sought his 100th career goal in his farewell appearance in a United shirt. And despite forcing a couple of late corners, Boston could not force the ball over the line and saw their season end on a low.

United team (4-4-2): Bastock; Beevers (Hurst 68), Greaves, Ellender, Chapman (Balmer 60); Rusk, Melton, Noble, Thomas; Jones, Thompson. Subs: Angel, Cropper, Croudson (gk).

Match report copyright © Craig Singleton, 2004.