Northwich Victoria 1-2 Pilgrims
With these two sides occupying the top two slots in the Conference, an early season test of their championship credentials was in prospect. The last time the clubs were battling it out for a league title was back in 1976/7, when Boston did the double over Northwich and went on to win the Northern Premier League on goal difference. Boston started the match without defender Mark Monington, who was out suspended following his sending off in the opening day fixture against Margate. Mike Marsh started the game but only lasted six minutes before pulling up with a strain and being substituted by Mickey Brown. Boston started brightly. On seven minutes Ken Charlery had a golden opportunity to give the "Pilgrims" the lead when he was put in the clear by a through ball, but he lobbed wide. A minute later Boston did go in front when Daryl CLARE was able to tap home unmarked after Cook had threaded a ball through to him. Cook soon had a crack at goal himself, but his long range effort only found Paul Gibson in the Northwich goal. Just before half-time the "Vics" equalised.
They broke down the right wing and a deep cross was headed across the goalmouth where it found Richard MITCHELL who side footed home. Northwich began the second half looking the side more likely to score. Boston's only effort in the first ten minutes was a long curling shot from Costello that failed to trouble the keeper. On fifty-six minutes however, Boston went back in front. Good football by Clifford and Cook on the right wing resulted in a penetrating cross that was headed home by Ken CHARLERY at the back post. Simon Weatherstone soon nearly increased the Boston lead when he fired in a free kick that was only just wide. The game finished with lots of Northwich pressure and a flurry of names going into the referee's book - six from Boston and three Northwich. Northwich won a succession of corners in the six minutes of injury time, but Boston held on to go top of the Conference for the first time since 1988.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Lodge, 4. R Weatherstone, 5. Costello, 6. Ellender, 7. Marsh (Brown 6), 8. Charlery, 9. Clare (Town 85), 10. S Weatherstone, 11. Cook (Angel 85). Subs (not used): Murphy, Conroy (gk).
Match report and photo by Ken Fox.