Pilgrims 3-2 Bath City
Dr Martens League
End of season games between teams not involved in promotion or relegation battles are often entertaining. With little to play for the pressure is off, allowing teams to produce good football without worrying too much about the result. This match was no exception. It had plenty of goals, plenty of drama and in the end the right result for the Pilgrims. The first ten minutes looked promising for the Pilgrims. In the absence of Matt Carmichael, Neil Featherstone was combining well with Paul Watts. Bath's Rob Skidmore soon got booked for a reckless challenge on Watts. Then Steve Charles met a cross from Gary Childs and headed inches wide of the goal. Things then started to go wrong. Twice Bath hit Boston on the break, but poor finishing by Gareth Colbourne and a shot into the side netting by Martin Paul saved the Pilgrim's blushes. However it was a case of third time lucky after Paul Bodin broke down the left wing before crossing to Mark HARRINGTON to tap in. Seven minutes later Bath stunned the York Street crowd by scoring again. It was a mirror image of the first goal. This time the break was down the right wing and PAUL slotted in the cross. Before half time Boston showed a few signs that all was not lost. First Featherstone produced a looping header that bounced off the top of the bar. Then Andrew Stanhope jinked his way into the penalty area and whipped in a killer cross which somehow eluded the incoming Boston forwards. The second half was pure magic. Within fifteen minutes Boston had scored three goals to take the lead. The first goal followed a free kick after Watts had been fouled outside the area. Len CURTIS met the resulting cross with a perfect header that arced over Mark Hervin in the Bath goal.
Richard Mason then took on the Bath defence on the left wing, beat them and sent in a precise cross for WATTS to head in. Mark Rawle came on for Featherstone, just in time to see STANHOPE put the Pilgrims in front. It looked as if Boston might have extended their lead a few minutes later when a Charles shot hit the bar bounced down on to the goalline and came out. But in the absence of a Russian linesman the score remained the same. Goal hero Len Curtis was then carried off on a stretcher following a collision in the Bath penalty area with Stanhope. He was replaced by youngster Ross Nicholls. Mark Rawle continued to impress, taunting the Bath defenders with his own brand of dazzling wizardry. The Pilgrims should have finished off the game when Stanhope was tripped after dribbling his way into the penalty area, but Charles placed the spot kick wide to leave Bath with some hope of salvaging the game. The last few minutes produced more drama. Bath again threatened on the break and won a succession of corners. If Paul Bastock hadn't been in fine form they may have snatched an equaliser right at the end.
With four games left, and Ilkeston losing today, the Runners-Up Cup beckons. If the Pilgrims can convert their games in hand into wins then the cup is theirs. It would be a second trophy for the club since the arrival of Steve Evans and some reward for the turnaround he has produced in the club's fortunes.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Len Curtis, 4. Ian Stringfellow, 5. Gary Childs, 6. Steve Charles, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Peter Costello, 9. Paul Watts, 10. Neil Featherstone, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Mark Rawle, 14. Ross Nicholls, 15. Danny Seager.