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Hereford United 1-1 Pilgrims

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

New-found solidity on their travels helped Boston United to prise out another creditable Conference result. So far this season, no visiting team to high-riding Hereford has managed to waltz off with maximum league spoils. But the Pilgrims came mightily close to achieving that feat with skipper Lee Howarth's 58th minute goal at one point putting them on the way towards potential success. The home side, though, rallied to eventually secure a share of the spoils. The outcome admittedly extended Boston's run of matches without a victory to nine. But on the other side of the coin, United connections can point to a current sequence of four games without defeat, a run which has left them in a comfortable position exactly halfway up the table. During this overall run, seven of the matches have been league encounters. But only two of these fixtures have been with home advantage. And looking at the whole perspective - including the trip to Hereford - manager Steve Evans said: "We have had some tremendously difficult away games in the past few weeks. Lately we have worked very hard on getting things sorted out defensively. And I think most people will agree that we have tightened things up well in recent games and aren't conceding many goals on our travels. At Hereford I thought we did really well. Of course we would have settled for a point before kick-off. But after taking the lead, it was perhaps a bit disappointing that we didn't go on to get a victory. But people should remember that Hereford have been unbeaten at home all season. Late in the game they put us under a bit of pressure and possibly we rode our luck a little. Lots of times this season we haven't had the rub of the green, so I think we deserve some good fortune on occasions."

The opening phase at Edgar Street saw Hereford show the initial creativity with Boston keeper Paul Bastock twice forced to make saves. The Pilgrims responded with Andy Turner flighting in a cross from which Ken Charlery's header tested Scott Cooksey. In the 18th minute, United were on the offensive again with Colin Hoyle heading over from a Paul Raynor corner. Boston overcame the loss to injury of defender Lennie Curtis and midfielder Jim Dick during the later stages of the first half. But the necessitated double shuffle didn't unduly unsettle the Pilgrims' pack. Before his substitution Dick saw a shot blocked by John Snape, a chance which had followed soon after Cooksey had parried an Andy Turner cross-shot onto and then over his own bar. Hereford hit back with Elmes getting in behind the United rearguard. But Bastock was again in good form with a fine save. The Boston custodian was once more in action on 51 minutes when pushing aside a long-range drive from Chris Lane. And from Michael McIndoe's flag-kick, Elmes headed wide. Boston hit back and in the 58th minute Cooksey made an excellent save when tipping away a shot from Gary Mills. From the resultant corner, taken by Turner, the ball dropped invitingly for HOWARTH to fire home his second goal of the season. Next, Paul Fewings got into a good position to score in the 66th minute against his former club. But another fine save from Cooksey prevented the Boston front man from doubling the lead. The home side then began to force their way back into the reckoning, their ambitions fuelled by the introduction of substitute Matt CLARKE. And it was he who levelled matters in the 71st minute when netting from close range following a throw-in from the left by Paul Sturgess.

United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Gowshall, 3. Curtis (Lucas 28), 4. Hoyle, 5. Howarth, 6. Dick (Minett 43), 7. Mills, 8. Charlery, 9. Raynor, 10. Fewings (Rawle 81), 11. Turner. Subs (not used): Stanhope, Martin (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.