Pilgrims 4-2 Dover Athletic
After three consecutive losses that seriously dented their title hopes, a home match against bottom of the table Dover gave the Pilgrims an easy opportunity to improve their fortunes. It also gave them a chance of gaining revenge for their surprise 2-3 defeat at Dover earlier in the season. They started the game without two inflential players. Defender Paul Ellender was still out suspended and midfielder Simon Weatherstone was out with an injury, picked up in the match at Dagenham. The game was played with a gale blowing towards the York Street end. So for the first half Dover had the wind at their backs. Boston opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Daryl CLARE converted a penalty after Neil Tarrant had been impeded on the left side of the area. A few minutes later Tarrant was knocked out by a high challenge and Anthony Elding came on as a replacement. On the half hour Dover equalised when the wind caught hold of Neil LE BIAN's header, from Steve Norman's free kick, allowing it to swirl beyond the reach of Paul Bastock into the Boston goal.
Dover took a surprise lead nine minutes later when a throw in was flicked through to Jimmy STROUTS who turned neatly and fired his shot into the net from close range. In the second half Boston had the wind behind them and Dover had trouble getting the ball out of their half as the Pilgrims searched for an equaliser. Boston also increased their attack by replacing defender Neil Thompson with striker David Town. Eight minutes into the half CLARE made the scores level with a low shot into the corner of the net after being picked out with a cross from Gould on the left wing. On 78 minutes Dover brought on their substitute keeper Phil Smith after regular keeper Paul Hyde had struggled to recover from a challenge. Smith could do nothing to stop CLARE notching up his hat-trick, from the penalty spot, after the referee spotted a handball in the area. Dover's Jimmy Strouts was so incensed by the spot-kick decision that he was sent off for dissent. CLARE put the result beyond doubt a minute before the end with a spectacular 30 yard effort.
United team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould, 4. Thompson (Town 51), 5. Monington, 6. Rodwell, 7. Rusk, 8. Tarrant (Elding 27), 9. Clare (Beesley 90), 10. Brown, 11. Angel. Subs not used: McGarry, Conroy.
Match report and photo by Ken Fox.