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Pilgrims 4-1 Hayes

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Three goals in the final 19 minutes helped Boston United to protect their status as the Conference's leading scorers. The Pilgrims managed to overcome the challenge of lowly Hayes - but the margin of victory was arguably a touch flattering for Steve Evans' side. And the fact that Boston eventually emerged successful did not create too much of an impression with Evans, despite watching his side take their league tally to 26 goals. He said: "I wasn't happy with the way we performed, especially early on when we didn't have a lot of energy or commitment. We got it together in the end, but I am fed up with not getting the right reaction from the start." These views were borne out by the way events unfolded in the opening 45 minutes when Hayes arguably created the lion's share of opportunities. Their first chance arrived in the second minute when Jon Ashton headed just wide from a free-kick by Kevin Weaver. Boston, giving a debut in midfield to non-contract signing Gary Brabin, briefly responded with a Mickey Brown header from an Andy Lodge cross drawing a good save from giant keeper Bertrand Bossu. But then came a succession of openings for the visitors. First Akpo Sodje broke down the right and forced Paul Bastock into a low save at his near post. Then Dean Clark twice went close, firing into the side-netting and drilling over from long range.

On the balance of play, it was no surprise when Hayes went ahead - although Bastock won't want to recall the 31st minute shot from Ryan SPENCER which he failed to hold and fumbled the ball over the line. Boston finally warmed to the challenge and efforts from Brown and Mark Monington tested Bossu. But the keeper was helpless to prevent Ken CHARLERY from sweeping in a 43rd minute equaliser from a Ross Weatherstone cross. Both sides had a chance apiece early after the interval with Spencer testing Bastock and then Daryl Clare poking wide from a Peter Costello cross at the other end. Evans was then sent from the touchline after he had kicked away the ball following a free-kick award near the dug-outs and after a quiet phase of play, Boston finally showed their mettle and cut loose to good effect. In the 71st minute SIMON WEATHERSTONE rifled in an edge-of-the-box drive via the inside of a post after the visitors' rearguard had only partially cleared a Charlery header across goal stemming from Weatherstone's initial free-kick. Three minutes later Mark ANGEL smacked in number three with a low finish after Clare had neatly set the winger free. Hayes hit back with on-target efforts from Clark and Glen Harris, both well held by Bastock. But Boston had the final say in stoppage time with David TOWN running through and forcing the ball home after his first shot had been blocked by Dominic Sterling.

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

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.