Pilgrims 3-0 Margate
Dr Martens League
by Barbara Singleton
Two goals in a drama-packed final five minutes helped to propel Boston United 10 points clear in the Dr Martens League title race. The Pilgrims comprehensively accounted for fellow championship rivals Margate, whose ranks were depleted to just nine men in the dying throes with red cards in quick succession for defender Bill Edwards (abusive language) and substitute Paul Lamb (professional foul). And although victory was only fully confirmed late in the proceedings, Boston boss Steve Evans felt his team triumphed deservedly. A goal close to half-time from Mark Rawle put United on their way, while a Peter Costello penalty and a sweetly struck drive from Andrew Stanhope put the icing on the cake with the encounter nearing its conclusion. Evans said: "I thought on the balance of play and in view of the number of chances we created, it could have been a win by five or six goals. Margate never seriously threatened us, but it was frustrating for a long while that we couldn't open up more that a one-goal lead. However, 3-0 is a good result to record over a team who also have title ambitions. It has enabled us to edge that little bit further clear of Bath who were on FA Trophy duty. And it perhaps puts a little bit of extra pressure on them to make full use of their games in hand. All we can do now is try and keep up the good sequence of results we have achieved since the turn of the year. And certainly more performances like Saturday will fit the bill nicely." For huge spells of the encounter, Boston were the more forceful outfit - exerting sustained periods of pressure on the Margate back line.
But it was largely a tale of frustration until the 44th minute when RAWLE swept in a fine left-foot angle drive from the edge of the area after being set up by the hugely influential Peter Costello. Before that breakthrough, chances had come and gone on a regular basis. Early on Mickey Nuttell had a header blocked and David Norris twice drilled off target. Paul Wilson tested keeper Lee Turner with a swerving right-foot effort and then David Rennie agonisingly saw a header cleared off the line by Edwards. Margate's responses were more of a rarity - half-hearted shots wide of the mark from leading scorer Phil Collins and defender Gary Blackford. In the second half, the pattern of play remained largely unaltered with more Boston offensive work being met with generally wayward finishing, notably from Collins, who had cause to say "I missed again" in the 54th and 67th minutes. Boston kept up their work rate with Costello in midfield and Nuttell up front both being focal points of the home attacking ideas. And they might have doubled their lead on several occasions with Rawle, Wilson and Stanhope all missing out by narrow margins when the best opportunities beckoned. But victory was all but ensured late on. First Edwards got his marching orders for chuntering at referee Beeby in the 84th minute. Three minutes later Margate were reduced to nine men when Lamb chopped down Stanhope to earn a red card and concede the penalty from which COSTELLO netted. Then on 89 minutes, STANHOPE drilled home after being picked out by good build-up play from Costello and substitute Andy Lodge.
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. Mickey Nuttell, 10. Mark Rawle, 11. David Norris, 12. Mark Melson, 14. Andy Lodge, 15. Andy Kiwomya.
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.