Havant & Waterlooville 3-3 Pilgrims
Dr Martens League
by Barbara Singleton
One point from a seesaw encounter kept Boston United's title ambitions on track. But the position at the top of the Dr Martens League Premier Division could have been much healthier for the Pilgrims had they managed to take greater advantage of the general superiority. The fact that challengers Bath could only muster a 1-1 home draw against Worcester enabled Boston to protect their 12-point lead in the championship chase - albeit having played five matches more than their Avon-based rivals. Manager Steve Evans said: "It was frustrating that we didn't get a win. We had by far the better of the chances and arguably should have been more than just one goal up at the interval. We gave two silly chances away at the start of the second half, but then we showed our true character by fighting back to take a 3-2 lead. It was hugely disappointing to concede another goal late on. But even then Colin Hoyle had a shot cleared off the line and their keeper saved well from Paul Watts. We went down there to try and do a professional job in an intimidating atmosphere. And, to be fair, we so nearly achieved our aim." Boston were certainly the more creative outfit right from the first whistle and early on a Paul Wilson corner and a shot by Keeble caused panic in the home rearguard.
Then on 23 minutes, KEEBLE was on target when bundling in after David Rennie had nodded down a Wilson free-kick. Midfielders Paul Raynor and Peter Costello then both drilled efforts over the top as United sought to consolidate their advantage. But two Havant goals in the space of five minutes soon after the interval turned things on their head. First, on 47 minutes Matt JONES seized possession 20 yards out and unleashed a drive which beat Paul Bastock. Then Dave MILKINS cashed in on the rebound of a James Taylor effort which bounced back off a post. Boston immediately responded with Steve Charles twice going close and Keeble almost adding to his fast-increasing Pilgrims' tally. But in the 63rd minute Andrew STANHOPE headed an equaliser following a Wilson free-kick. Four minutes later Lee POWER - playing in place of the injured Mickey Nuttell - showed terrific coolness to fire past keeper Salvatore Bibbo from a long Paul Bastock clearance. However, home midfielder Tim HAMBLEY wrecked United's victory dreams with a 78th minute diving-headed leveller for Havant. Hoyle and Watts came close late in the day but Boston had to settle for a share of the spoils to take with them into a 12-day break, while Bath contest three games in the same time-span.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Paul Wilson, 4. Colin Hoyle, 5. Peter Costello, 6. David Rennie, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Charles, 9. Lee Power, 10. Shaun Keeble, 11. Paul Raynor, 12. Paul Watts, 14. Adie Hayes, 15. Len Curtis.
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.