Hednesford Town 2-4 Pilgrims
by Barbara Singleton
Six goals, both keepers sent-off and progress beyond the 50-point total for Boston United. Those were the bare statistics from an eventful Conference clash at Hednesford's Keys Park ground when an intriguing storyline was weaved through 90 minutes of action. The first major talking point came on 42 minutes when Boston custodian Paul Bastock dashed out to try and kick clear from Val Owen. But he miscued and promptly dropped down to handle the ball. The offence was instantly met by a red card - resulting in Nick Conroy earning his first competitive call to action in United colours. Surprisingly, once down to 10 men, Boston swept into a 3-0 lead. But then home keeper Stuart Ford uttered some words of abuse towards the referee in conceding the third goal and he also saw red. Hednesford then took advantage of some United complacency with a two-goal riposte before the Pilgrims wrapped things up in the final minute. The match had started with Boston going close three times in the opening 10 minutes, Lee Howarth seeing a header fly wide and then a shot blocked from corners while Micky Nuttell saw an effort deflected away from a Peter Costello cross. Hednesford replied with Paul Bagshaw bringing a fine fingertip save from Bastock with a teasing 20th minute cross-shot.
Back at the other end, David Town fired off-target and then drew a good save from Ford with a low shot. Shots from distance by Stuart Lake and Simon Weatherstone then almost produced goals at either end prior to the game's first dismissal. The second half was 11 minutes old when Boston made light of their diminished numbers when WEATHERSTONE netted from just inside the box after an Andrew Stanhope cross from the right. Goal number two arrived in the 63rd minute when Mark Haran tugged back Weatherstone in the area and COSTELLO drilled into the top right corner from the penalty spot. Ten minutes later TOWN made it 3-0 - following good build-up play by Nuttell and Weatherstone - when stabbing in at the second attempt after Ford had partially saved his first drive. The keeper clearly felt there had been an infringement and was sent off for forcibly airing his views. From that point, Hednesford rallied and pulled back two goals in three minutes - first when OWEN ran through to fire under Conroy and then when Mick NORBURY headed in from a Bagshaw centre. But Boston made things safe in stoppage time when Costello hoisted in a cross from the right and HARAN diverted the ball beyond stand-in keeper Jake Sedgemore.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Lodge, 4. Gowshall, 5. Howarth, 6. Costello, 7. Stanhope, 8. S Weatherstone (Diaf 86), 9. Nuttell (Elding 86), 10. Town, 11. Cook (Conroy 43). Subs (not used): Lucas, Rusk.
This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.