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Halesowen Town 1-1 Pilgrims

Dr Martens League

by Echo Reporter

Fifteen minutes of quality and determined play. The rest paled into below-par obscurity. That was manager Steve Evans' view of Boston United's efforts in prising out a single point from their Dr Martens Premier Division trip to Halesowen. On a day when title rivals Bath City crushed Tamworth 4-1, the Pilgrims had to settle for a share of the spoils from their Premier Division excursion into the West Midlands. And even then, it needed an 89th minute penalty from full-back Paul Wilson to provide salvation after Halesowen had broken the deadlock in similar fashion midway through the second half. Throw in a late sending off for striker Micky Nuttell - who was red carded along with home defender Phil Wood for a stoppage time spat - and things didn't go exactly to plan for the United set up, who now find themselves two points adrift of Bath at the top. Evans said: "Basically we under achieved for the first 75 minutes. I can have no complaints about the last 15 minutes because we finally got our act together and exerted some sustained pressure. And I suppose in the cold light of day it was a testament to the players' characters that we fought back. When it comes to the end of the season, we might in fact look back and perhaps reflect on this being a decisive point won. I hope it turns out to be the case, but at the moment I still can't help feeling we just didn't seem to perform collectively." The early signs looked reasonably optimistic for Boston with Gary Porter getting into a good position only to blaze too high following a 14th minute Nuttell lay-off. Then both Nuttell and Colin Hoyle went close with headers while a Wilson drive flashed wide of the mark. Boston lost the services of striker Paul Watts with a suspected broken ankle following a hefty challenge from Matt Gardiner. From that point, the home side hit back, initially with a well struck cross-shot from Ashley Brown and then two glaring misses for Wright.

First he fired wildly wide after being set free by Paul Birch, then he sprinted clear of a static Boston rearguard, but dithered when left with just Paul Bastock to beat, the keeper then responding well to block a follow-up effort by Lynden Rowland. Boston looked more purposeful at the start of the second half with David Norris and Porter both just missing out. But then trouble struck with the onset for a nightmare spell for Nuttell. After a 68th minute corner was swung in from the right, Wayne Lloyd rose with Nuttell, whose arm made contact with the ball. The Boston player protested about a foul challenge by his opponent, but referee Forder hoisted the yellow card, awarded a spot kick and Richard CRISP converted. Almost immediately Bastock had to make a stunning save to deny Rowland. Things started to look up in the 74th minute when Kiwomya was thwarted by a fine plunging save from Danny McDonnell. United threw centre-half Hoyle into attack and Costello and Norris both went close. With time running out, more penalty drama erupted when Norris teased his way into the box to be caught by the diving McDonnell. WILSON smashed home in customary style. That was with supposedly 60 seconds to go. Ten-and-a-half minutes later, referee Forder drew proceedings to a close, the stoppage time bonanza being dramatised by Wood and Nuttell exchanging what looked like a punch and a head-butt respectively after an edge of the box altercation.

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Paul Wilson, 4. Colin Hoyle, 5. Peter Costello, 6. David Rennie, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Gary Porter, 9. Mickey Nuttell, 10. Mark Rawle, 11. David Norris, 12. Andy Kiwomya, 14. Gary Childs, 15. Steve Appleby.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.