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Pilgrims 4-1 Martyrs

Dr Martens League

by Barbara Singleton

Three points, four goals, a five-star display and a sixth straight win. Those were the numerically relevant statistics to come from Boston United's latest step along the Dr Martens League championship trail. The Pilgrims swept aside Welsh rivals Merthyr Tydfil in impressive fashion, despite having to come back from a goal behind in wild and blustery conditions at York Street. It was a crucial victory, particularly with main rivals Bath and Tamworth on the winning trail. And today, the Pilgrims were still sitting twelve points clear at the head of affairs in the Premier Division. Manager Steve Evans was equally delighted. He said: "I have always paid tribute to the character and determination in this squad. And here was another prime example about how everyone rolls up their sleeves and battles hard for each other and the team cause in general. We were possibly a bit shaky for the first ten minutes when we had to contend with a really strong wind against us. But once we settled down and David Rennie brought us level with a superb strike, I don't think we were ever in trouble." Boston had to manage without key midfielders David Norris and Peter Costello, central defenders Rennie and Colin Hoyle were only 70 per cent fit, while leading goal scorer Mark Rawle hobbled out of the action soon after putting United into a 2-1 lead. But there was still enough strength to win through - even though Merthyr struck first.

Their moment of ascendancy came in the fifth minute from a hotly disputed corner, with referee David Adcock ruling the ball had brushed Gary Childs as he shepherded it over the byline. And from Dean Craven's flag-kick, Lee JARMAN rose to glance in a near post looping header. Briefly, it ruffled home feathers. Mickey Nuttell headed over after 12 minutes and then debutant keeper Seamus Kelly saved at the feet of Rawle. But equality came on 19 minutes when RENNIE volleyed home after his own header into the danger area. Two minutes later RAWLE hit the target for the 14th time this term, firing in from close range after Kelly had spilled a drive from distance by Steve Charles. Rawle then went close again when firing across goal after good work by Wilson and Nuttell. Boston went 3-1 up in the 36th minute when Nuttell cleverly slid the ball out to Andrew STANHOPE and he chipped over the advancing Kelly from an acute angle. Merthyr almost reduced the deficit when Shephard got behind the home back line, but keeper Paul Bastock produced a fine save. The second half was six minutes old when United went 4-1 ahead, NUTTELL heading in at the far post after excellent build up work down the left by Andy Lodge, Charles and Wilson. Later, Kelly saved well from Stanhope while Lodge fired a 25-yard free-kick against the post. The same player then tried to connect with a Gary Childs cross but fired well over the top. Merthyr responded later in the game but United keeper Bastock was equal to efforts from Mitchell, Griffith and Walker.

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Paul Wilson, 4. Colin Hoyle, 5. Gary Childs, 6. David Rennie, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Charles, 9. Mickey Nuttell, 10. Mark Rawle, 11. Andy Kiwomya, 12. Lee Power, 14. Len Curtis, 15. Andy Lodge.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.