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Chester City 1-2 Pilgrims

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Goals from midfield are always a valuable commodity. And this proved the case as Boston United climbed back to the top of the Nationwide Conference. The Pilgrims got the upper hand against Chester City, thanks in no small measure to crucial strikes from Simon Weatherstone and skipper Mike Marsh, the latter a superb 25-yard volley. The Boston midfield duo hit the target either side of a Mark Beesley equaliser. And in tandem with rock-bottom Leigh RMI pulling off a shock 1-0 win away to previously unbeaten Dagenham and Redbridge, victory at the Deva Stadium propelled Steve Evans' side into pole position in non-league's top flight. The United boss said: "Our performance was probably one where we played well in patches. But a gusty wind down the pitch made life difficult for both sides. We didn't play as well as I would have liked, but Chester is the sort of place where you have to go and dig out a result. And that's what we did, which in itself was very pleasing." Boston enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and forced four early corners. The Pilgrims then had to look to keeper Paul Bastock to show good alertness when he dashed out to thwart Beesley after Ross Weatherstone had under-hit a back-pass. It wasn't until midway through the first half that the first clear-cut chance arrived. But when it did, United took full advantage with SIMON WEATHERSTONE bundling in his fifth goal of the season from close range on 24 minutes after Daryl Clare had cleverly dummied a low right-wing cross from Mickey Brown.

City answered with a trio of opportunities. First, Bastock gathered a Dave Linighan header from a David McNiven free-kick. Then both McNiven and Wes Kilgannon fired wide with angled drives across the United goalface. Boston responded again before the break with Clare seeing an effort disallowed for offside and then Mickey Brown seeing namesake Wayne Brown beat out a driven cross-shot. Early in the second half Chester exerted a spell of pressure with Bastock tipping over a Mike Rose shot and then a Porter cross being blocked by Monington. Boston almost went two-up on 56 minutes when Ken Charlery broke free. But defender Carl Ruffer got back to divert his effort wide. But on the hour the home side equalised when BEESLEY got his sixth goal of the season, getting past Ross Weatherstone and then firing in a shot which Bastock touched but couldn't prevent from dribbling over the line. But Boston were not deflated and retook the lead with what proved a stunning match-winner in the 70th minute. An Andy Lodge corner was partially cleared where Monington helped the ball on to MARSH and he crashed a 25-yard volley into the roof of the net. Chester rallied late on and Beesley almost got a second leveller, but dragged his shot wide in stoppage time.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Costello, 3. Lodge, 4. R Weatherstone, 5. Monington, 6. Ellender, 7. Marsh, 8. Charlery (Town 87), 9. Clare (Murphy 65), 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Brown (Cook 90). Subs (not used): Gould, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.