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Martyrs 0-2 Pilgrims

Dr Martens League

by Barbara Singleton

Goals from strike partners Shaun Keeble and Mickey Nuttell kept Boston United's championship hopes burning brightly. The front line duo struck at either end of the second half to help the Pilgrims chalk up their fifth Dr Martens League double of the season. And, more importantly, the win helped Boston stride into a handsome 15-point lead in the Premier Division title chase. Manager Steve Evans was delighted with the application and single-minded approach shown by his players in what could have been an awkward banana skin of a fixture in south Wales. "It was vital that we kept on piling up the points to heighten still further the pressure on all our rivals - and Bath in particular. It is terrific that we edge two points further clear of them," he said. "But we are not getting carried away. We know that Bath still have six matches in hand over us, so it is possible for them to overtake us. And as long as that remains a possibility there will be no remote thoughts of easing up in our camp. The attitude of all our players at Merthyr was superb. We had a few people playing with knocks, niggles and strains.

These are the sort of matches which can show what players are made of. To me it proved we have got men in our camp, not boys." The goals which divided the sides came from the head of Keeble and the boot of Nuttell. KEEBLE was on target in the 49th minute when rising well to nod in a well-flighted corner from Andrew Stanhope. NUTTELL made the points safe on 78 minutes when stabbing home from close range after seeing keeper Neil Thomas parry his original headed effort at goal. Those strikes put the icing on a thoroughly professional performance by United, especially in the second half when they stamped their authority on the match and gave the home side little opportunity to threaten Paul Bastock between the sticks. United had the better of the first half chances, Keeble bursting clear early on only to be denied by a fine save from Thomas. Then twice in the space of four minutes, Peter Costello and Stanhope fired off-target. The second period was largely a tale of Boston dominance, enhanced by their goal double. But elsewhere there were also close calls from Keeble (twice) and Paul Raynor, while Merthyr almost got on the scoresheet with a low cross-shot from Ian Mitchell.

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Paul Wilson, 4. Colin Hoyle, 5. Peter Costello, 6. David Rennie, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Charles, 9. Mickey Nuttell, 10. Shaun Keeble, 11. Paul Raynor, 12. Lee Power, 14. Mark Rawle, 15. Adie Hayes.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.