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Pilgrims 4-1 Stalybridge Celtic

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Boston United propelled themselves up to second place in the Nationwide Conference thanks to a late goal burst. The Pilgrims eventually overpowered rivals Stalybridge Celtic last night after finding the visitors difficult to prise apart for much of the opening 70 minutes. But when Ken Charlery bagged his third league goal of the season with 16 minutes left, it opened the floodgates. Steve Evans' side had seized the initial advantage by going ahead in the sixth minute when SIMON WEATHERSTONE blasted home sweetly from 20 yards after Mark Monington and Charlery had created the opening. For the intervening 68 minutes, Boston played plenty of inventive football with Mark Monington a rock in defence and Mike Marsh always a creative influence in the centre of the park. But the visitors doggedly held firm and creditably played some tidy football in spells - particularly in the opening stages of the second half - before their world fell apart. Boosted by their early breakthrough, Boston understandably played with a fair degree of confidence and Simon Weatherstone drilled another shot too high after a repeat lay-off by Charlery.

Later, Paul Ellender found himself out wide on the left and his low angled drive was clutched by former Gainsborough keeper Gary Ingham. In response, Stalybridge's first attack saw a drive by Ged Courtney blocked by Ellender and then Ben Futcher headed just over from a cross by ex-Lincoln City man Richard Peacock in the 22nd minute. Back at the other end, further half chances for Simon Weatherstone, Ellender, Charlery and Daryl Clare all came close to doubling the home lead. Stalybridge played some good stuff after the break with notable efforts seeing Steve Wood fire straight at Paul Bastock and then Andy Evans headed wide. Boston tried hard to conjure up a cutting edge. And this arrived on 74 minutes when CHARLERY swivelled to fire in off the underside of the bar from six yards after Matt Woods and Futcher had failed to clear a Marsh free-kick. Five minutes later the lead became 3-0 when Charlery skipped round Ingham and crossed for SIMON WEATHERSTONE to score again. Two minutes later CLARE drilled home from the spot after Futcher had handled a Mickey Brown cross. Stalybridge netted a consolation in the 90th minute when EVANS broke free down the left and lofted a shot over the advancing Bastock.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Lodge, 4. R Weatherstone, 5. Monington, 6. Ellender, 7. Marsh, 8. Charlery (Town 85), 9. Clare (Gez Murphy 85), 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Cook (Brown 77). Subs (not used): Gould, Conroy (gk).

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.