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Hoyle scores in a mud bath at York Street

Pilgrims 4-1 Halesowen Town

Dr Martens League

Football, the old cliche states, is a game of two halves. And that was certainly the case at York Street as Boston United chalked up their 20th Dr Martens League victory of the season to edge closer to title glory. It was a strongly contested encounter with Boston thoroughly dominant in the first period and all but putting the issue beyond doubt with a 3-0 interval lead. However, then came an almost stagnant second half when little of note occurred as the Pilgrims coasted to three points. Manager Steve Evans was philosophical about the triumph. "We were very impressive in the first half and at 3-0 it was probably more important that we didn't give anything away. At this stage of the season it is points which matter. It would have been nice to have gone on to score five or six, but at least Mark Rawle's late goal put a bit of icing on the cake. And a 4-1 victory is always nice to take - any day of the week." Boston began to take the upper hand with an opening goal on 18 minutes, Colin HOYLE bundling the ball over the line from close range after David Rennie had flicked on a Paul Wilson corner. Fifteen minutes later the lead was doubled when Lee POWER squeezed a six-yard shot under keeper Daniel McConnell after chest controlling a Steve Charles header. Goal number three arrived on 40 minutes when Andrew STANHOPE side footed in after excellent build up play from a Rennie free-kick which also involved Charles, Paul Raynor and Power.

Elsewhere in the half, Boston might have had further goals with Shaun Keeble, Peter Costello and Rennie all missing out with fierce drives. In response, Halesowen had two notable chances with Stuart Payne forcing Paul Bastock into a fine save with his legs when the scoreline was still 0-0 and Paul Birch just missing out with another drive on 44 minutes. The second half was largely a non-event - apart from one red card, a gem of a reply from Halesowen and a couple of late goalmouth incidents when Boston sprang to life again in the dying stages. Visiting substitute Neil Cartwright had been on the pitch just six minutes when he made elbow contact with Costello despite having just been awarded a free-kick. But even against 10 men, Boston couldn't raise their game and Halesowen pulled one back when Adrian COOPER cracked home a sweetly struck curling 20-yarder on 80 minutes. In the dying stages for Boston, Charles drilled just too high and then Andy Lodge tested McDonnell before RAWLE made a scoring impact on 90 minutes when sliding in at the far post after a Power shot had been partially blocked by the keeper. Seconds later the same player almost scored again, but saw the ball bounce away off a post.

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. Lee Power, 10. Shaun Keeble, 11. Paul Raynor, 12. Mark Rawle, 14. Andy Lodge, 15. Adie Hayes.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.

Photo courtesy of Dave Johnson.