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Pilgrims 3-2 Ilkeston

Dr Martens League

by Barbara Singleton

The scoreline suggests a tight and evenly matched encounter. But appearances can be deceptive. And in all honesty Boston United should probably have taken maximum Dr Martens League spoils by a substantially wider margin against Ilkeston. The Pilgrims overran their Derbyshire visitors, especially in a first half of free-flowing power-play football. And the fact that Ilkeston managed to cling on to a chance of extracting at least a point was possibly a testament to their durability. However, there can be no escaping the fact that Boston were superbly good value for their success - a win which kept them 10 points clear of Bath in the race for the Premier Division title. And manager Steve Evans was delighted. He said: "This was a huge result for us and I can't praise my players highly enough for the way they went about their jobs. We were superb, especially in the first half, and could easily have had five or six goals. I thought we always looked in control and apart from a nervy last five minutes, I wasn't really worried." Boston's determination to gain revenge for an early-season loss at Ilkeston was evident right from the start. Early on, strike partners Mickey Nuttell and Mark Rawle both went close while midfielder Steve Charles drilled an effort wide as United started with a flourish.

The home momentum was rewarded on 13 minutes when NUTTELL grabbed his eighth goal of the season with a near-post header from a Paul Wilson cross. Briefly, though, the euphoria was blunted when Ilkeston drew level in the 23rd minute. Tony HEMMINGS headed home following a goalmouth melee after his own initial shot and a rebound effort from Ian Helliwell had both drawn excellent parried saves from Paul Bostock. But Boston were quickly back into their stride with two goals in four minutes. First Colin HOYLE converted from close range after Nuttell had flicked on a Wilson corner. Then David RENNIE did likewise to round off creative work involving Andrew Stanhope and Rawle in the 34th minute. By comparison, the second half was contested at a lesser tempo, although Boston always looked the more likely to add to the scoreline - Stanhope, Rawle and substitute Andy Kiwomya going closest. But ex-Pilgrim Devon WHITE had the last scoring say, tapping in from eight yards following a cross by Ludlam on 79 minutes. It could have triggered home uncertainty, but Boston held on with a degree of comfort.

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. Andy Kiwomya, 14. Mark Melson, 15. Andy Lodge.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.