Pilgrims 1-0 Tamworth
Dr Martens League
by Barbara Singleton
The comfort zone now stands at eight points. That's the margin by which Boston United now lead the Dr Martens League championship chase. Their position was consolidated by virtue of a hard-won maximum spoils haul netted at the expense of Tamworth and the fact that fellow high-flyers Bath, Ilkeston, Burton and Margate all failed to conjure a win between them. Pilgrims' boss Steve Evans is delighted with his team's current standing, but knows only too well that nothing can be taken for granted and that now is the ideal time for even more single-minded commitment from his players. After watching the Pilgrims chalk up their third Premier Division double of the season in the process - Evans said: "We got those points through hard graft and determination. It was a tribute to the way this squad wants to win. Tamworth are an excellent side and made us work hard for the points. We created several good chances, but this was probably one of those days where our overall defensive performance was the decisive factor." Any side with championship pretensions will generally collect a number of telling 1-0 successes. But this was Boston's first in a season which has been notable for many free-scoring displays and its significance should not be under-estimated. The all-important moment came on 33 minutes when left-back Paul WILSON trotted over to the right side of the pitch and curled in a flag-kick which dramatically drifted beyond forwards and defenders alike and dropped into the far corner of the Tamworth net.
Bizarre, fluke, lucky. Call it what you like. But Wilson's seventh goal of the campaign was enough to bring up United's eighth home league win from nine York Street outings. It wasn't the most likely source of a breakthrough, but they all count. United might have made a scoring impact in more orthodox fashion on several other occasions - but all met without success. Early on a Wilson free-kick skimmed past Colin Hoyle and David Norris. Then a long range drive from Lee Power was well held by keeper Darren Acton. On 18 minutes Norris drilled wide after Power and Mickey Nuttell had done the spadework down the right. Then in the run-up to the United goal, Power evaded a challenge on the left and squared for Norris to bring a sprawling save from Acton. Tamworth also had several bright moments of their own, the best seeing home keeper Paul Bastock make three good saves to deny in turn a Mark Hallam downward header and two shots from David Foy. Early in the second half, headers from Stanhope and Norris were scrambled clear by the Tamworth rearguard while leading scorer Mark Rawle - on as a second half subsitute for the injured Mickey Nuttell - was twice fractionally off-target with a shot and header. Then a Norris header was clutched by Acton while, in the 81st minute, a Stanhope cross-shot skimmed inches wide as Boston sought to double their advantage. However, the visitors also made a big impression in the attacking stakes with efforts from Foy, Hallam and Warren Haughton all being thwarted by Bastock's agility while a stoppage time shot from Brian Gray flew wide of the mark.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Paul Wilson, 4. Colin Hoyle, 5. Steve Appleby, 6. David Rennie, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Gary Childs, 9. Mickey Nuttell, 10. Lee Power, 11. David Norris, 12. Mark Rawle, 14. Kevin Noteman, 15. John Walker.
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.