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Rushden & Diamonds 1-0 Pilgrims

Coca-Cola League

A late, late goal brought Boston United's mini unbeaten run to an end, just 42 games short of breaking the club's unbeaten league games record from the early 70s. There was just one change to the starting line-up - on-loan youngster Ian Ross returned after missing the FA Cup game and he took the place of Chris Holland. Jason Lee also recovered from his minor injury to take a place on the subs' bench. The Rushden side had a new face in goal - John Ruddy had joined the club on-loan on Thursday from Premiership Everton. The first chance of the game was made by David Bell on five minutes, and Nathan Abbey did well to deflect his long range effort wide of the target. Soon Boston created an opening. A good run by Julian Joachim ended with a pass to Bradley Maylett whose shot was easily saved by the Ruddy goalkeeper. A shot from 20 yards out by Ross was too high. Then Lawrie Dudfield got past his marker before shooting into the side netting. On the half hour Chris O'Grady fired a shot straight at Abbey, but the keeper was able to fist the ball away.

After a couple of wasted chances by the Diamonds at the start of the second half, Boston began to dominate the play. Simon Rusk had a shot deflected for a corner, before substitute Jason Lee - on for Dudfield - saw his downward header somehow cleared off the line by Rob Gier. Boston almost won the game in the 90th minute when Joachim and Lee combined well only to see Joachim's shot from the edge of the area fumbled by Ruddy, but the Boston forwards couldn't take advantage before the 'keeper reclaimed the ball. Rushden got their dramatic winner 24 seconds before the end of time added on when defender Phil GULLIVER header home David Bell's cross after a corner had not been fully cleared. After the match Steve Evans said: "We've been kicked twice in six days. We were kicked at Swindon and we've been kicked again tonight. It's pretty gut-wrenching. I don't think in all honesty Barry Hunter thinks he should have won the game tonight. Let's hope that we're not missing the playoffs come May by a point."

United team: Nathan Abbey, Lee Canoville, Ben Futcher, Alan White, Mark Greaves, Ian Ross, Bradley Maylett (Danny Thomas 85), Simon Rusk, Stewart Talbot, Julian Joachim, Lawrie Dudfield (Jason Lee 68). Subs not used: Paul Ellender, Austin McCann, Chris Holland.

Match report copyright © Ken Fox 2005.