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Pilgrims 4-1 Nuneaton Borough

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Boston United today sit proudly back in charge of proceedings in the Nationwide Conference. A decisive victory over mid-table Nuneaton Borough saw the Pilgrims climb back above main championship rivals Dagenham and Redbridge with a two-point cushion between the promotion-chasing sides. The current state of affairs is a dramatic contrast to the positions of the two title challengers just 17 days ago when the Daggers - fresh from a 1-0 win over the Pilgrims - led the way by seven points. However, Steve Evans' side have re-ignited the heat with a maximum haul of 12 points from their latest four encounters. And last night's triumph over Nuneaton was another example of how the confidence has flooded back into the Boston camp. The Pilgrims' cause, in front of 4,200 free-entry fans, was certainly helped by taking the lead after just three minutes. Defender ROSS WEATHERSTONE ventured forward and netted with a swivelling shot from a Jim Rodwell cross after initial creative work by Mark Angel down the right had only been partially cleared by the visitors. Borough briefly hit back with a tame shot from Jason Harris being easily held by Paul Bastock. However, Boston responded with a 16th minute shot from Daryl Clare being smothered by Chris Mackenzie.

Having already been shorn of Mark Monington (injured) in defence, United then lost the back line services of goal hero Weatherstone with a recurrence of the knee problem that had kept him out for six weeks. Midfielder Peter Costello deputised in an unfamiliar rearguard role, but coped admirably. For a while Boston had to absorb some creative - albeit largely toothless - ascendancy by the visitors, their best effort seeing a Maurice Harkin drive skim straight at Bastock. But Boston struck back in the best fashion - by doubling their lead on 42 minutes when Mickey BROWN's diving header from a Jamie Cook cross flew past Mackenzie. Borough went close to halving the deficit early in the second half with close calls for Andy Thackeray and Lee Howey. But Boston hit back again with CLARE netting his 20th league goal of the season with a low drive after Mackenzie had parried a shot-on-the-run by Angel. Soon afterwards, Borough striker Harris was dismissed after incurring his second yellow card for chopping down Gould. Fifteen minutes from time Boston added a fourth when COOK challenged Mackenzie for a Brown cross and as the ball dropped, it hit the keeper's trailing leg and bobbled over the line. A minute from time Nuneaton grabbed a crumb of consolation when HARKIN's 20-yard free-kick curled over the home defensive wall and flew past a stranded Bastock.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould, 4. Ellender, 5. R Weatherstone (Costello 21), 6. Rodwell (Elding 82), 7. Brown, 8. Cook (Town 84), 9. Clare, 10. Rusk, 11. Angel. Subs (not used): Tarrant, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.