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Barnet 0-1 Pilgrims

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Boston United's remarkable away record was cranked up another victory notch with an outstanding performance in north London. The Pilgrims turned in an impressive team effort to prise maximum spoils from the home of one of their main title rivals. And in the process, they consolidated their own Conference championship standing to remain four points adrift of Dagenham and Redbridge, but more importantly the same distance ahead of third-placed Margate. The result at Underhill also helped to finally bury the memory of Boston's last visit to Barnet when they were thumped 5-0 in 1990-91. And the man who took the plaudits this time around was midfielder Simon Rusk - a player pitched in by manager Steve Evans for his first start of what has been an injury-hit season. Rusk came up with an instant repayment with what proved to be the winning goal in the 53rd minute - and delighted United's 415-strong following. The scorer said: "It came as something of a surprise when the gaffer told me I was going to be given a chance. I wasn't 100 per cent match fit, but it was brilliant to hit the back of the net. It's always nice to score. But our result was down to all the players giving everything to the cause." His goal-grabbing feat stemmed from a free-kick quickly taken by Simon Weatherstone with the ball fed into Paul Ellender and then switched out right to RUSK, who found himself in plenty of space before running on the fire past Lee Harrison in a one-on-one confrontation.

Boston had started proceedings in positive fashion with Mark Clifford drilling a long range shot wide following a corner taken by Simon Weatherstone who, moments later, saw a 25-yard free-kick deflected wide of the mark. Barnet got back into the argument with a spell of their own pressure which produced a clutch of home opportunities. First Lee Flynn's 15th minute corner was only partially cleared and United keeper Paul Bastock had to make a fine save when pushing Mark Gower's shot away to safety. Bastock was again called into action in the 28th minute when expertly turning aside a drive from Wayne Purser after Rob Sawyers had created the chance. Later in the first half, both Purser and Danny Brown went close for Barnet with headers while Roy Essandoh curled a shot wide. Boston had responded midway through the half Daryl Clare and Mark Angel linking well, only for Harrison to dash out and save. The second half was eight minutes old when Rusk came up with his scoring contribution. And that laid the platform for Boston to redouble their resolve. And in all truth, Barnet were given limited opportunities with only Essandoh going close in the 79th minute. In reply, Boston almost doubled their lead through Simon Weatherstone's shot in the 58th minute.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould, 4. R Weatherstone, 5. Monington, 6. Ellender, 7. Rusk (Lodge 70), 8. Gray (Murphy 86), 9. Clare, 10. S. Weatherstone, 11. Angel (Cook 62). Subs (not used): Town, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.