Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Pilgrims
Having to produce a win to maintain their title challenge, away, against a side that had won their last six Conference matches, the Pilgrims had a mountain to climb. Their task was made all the more difficult by the absence through injury of Simon Weatherstone. Midfielder Simon Rusk being brought in as an emergency striker to fill his No. 10 shirt. Defender Paul Ellender made a welcome return to the side after a three match ban, and Jamie Cook also started after a long absence, giving Boston much needed width. The early chances all fell to Boston. Mickey Brown saw a header hit the post and Mark Angel had a shot well saved. Doncaster then began to come into the game and create chances. Jim Rodwell came out of nowhere to make a perfect challenge to deny £150,000 signing Justin Jackson after he had broken clear and was running on goal. Paul Bastock produced two top-notch saves, first a full length dive to divert a Jackson shot, then a leap to tip over a long range effort from James Kelly. Boston's best chances of the first half were headers from corners. Mark Monington could only direct his effort straight at the keeper, and Daryl Clare's effort was well saved by former Pilgrim Lee Butler in the Doncaster goal.
In a free flowing game with plenty of attacking football, chances were created at both ends. Boston's breakthough came nine minutes into the second half when Paul Ellender was pushed to the ground in the penalty area as Boston attacked down the left wing. The referee pointed to the spot and Daryl CLARE slotted home his 20th goal of the season. Doncaster now made three substitutions to aid their search for an equaliser. Boston had chances to put the result beyond doubt. Rusk surged through the middle of the Doncaster defence but was forced wide and his powerful shot ricocheted off the post. After a mix up in the Doncaster defence, Daryl Clare also found himself free in a wide position but his shot lacked power and was easily saved. Angel had an opportunity to lob the keeper who, had come off his line, but he hit the ball much too softly allowing Butler to backtrack and collect the ball. A better option would have been a firm pass to an unmarked Mickey Brown at the far post. Despite long periods of possesion in the final minutes, Doncaster couldn't find a way through the resolute Boston defence. So Boston picked up all three points and moved back to second place in the Conference.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould, 4. Ellender, 5. Monington, 6. Rodwell, 7. Brown, 8. Cook (Town 84), 9. Clare (McGarry 89), 10. Rusk, 11. Angel. Subs not used: Beesley, Elding, Conroy.
Match report by Ken Fox.