Alfreton Town 1-2 Pilgrims
All things considered this was a very pleasant way of spending a Bank Holiday afternoon. The sun shone and the forecast snow only put in the briefest of appearances and Boston won more comfortably than the score suggests. Alfreton started in lively fashion, winning two corners in the opening minutes, but as time went on the Pilgrims stamped their authority on the game. Boston started with the same line-up that had won against Leigh RMI on Saturday. Simon Bailey had clearly impressed enough in his first team debut to retain his place up front alongside youthful veteran striker Chris Cook. Andrew Stanhope was soon causing all sorts of problems, creating chances for both Cook and Bailey with passes that sliced through the Alfreton defence. He even came close to scoring himself with a shot across the face of the goal that was only inches wide of the target. Steve Charles also went close with one of his trademark long range shots that could only be parried by the keeper for a corner. The first goal came on the half hour. Andrew Stanhope found Simon Bailey on the right edge of the area who then put in a great cross for Chris COOK to head home. Two minutes later and the Pilgrims scored again. This time Chris Withe broke through the middle and fired in a shot which rebounded into the path of Chris COOK who pounced on the ball and hammered it into the corner of the net. The second half started in the same way as in the match at Marine. The Boston defence were caught on the break allowing Alfreton's No. 9, STACEY, to run through and lob the ball over Paul Bastock to pull a goal back.
This certainly made it a more interesting match, with the constant worry that the unthinkable might happen and Alfreton snatch an equaliser. Greg Fee was compounding the problem by having an off day, but fortunately Len Curtis, Martin Filson and Joby Gowshall were all on top form to cover his mistakes, and the Boston offside trap was also working well. Chris Cook came within a hair's breadth of getting his hat-trick when he just failed to make contact with a low cross. Paul Cavell came on for Simon Bailey for the last twenty-five minutes and came close to increasing the lead on a couple of occasions. Steve Charles missed an excellent chance when he had a free run at goal, but his shot was saved. Ten minutes from the end Steve Charles clattered to the ground and immediately clutched at his shoulder. Despite eventually getting to his feet and trying to continue he was wisely substituted by Danny Marshall. The obvious fear is that he has dislocated his shoulder, which would keep him out for the rest of the season. The game finished with Boston successfully hanging on by employing the usual time-wasting tactics of taking the ball to the opponents corner flag and keeping possession.
With Barrow losing at Marine, Runcorn drawing and Leigh RMI and Emley winning, the championship race looks like it could go all the way to the wire.
United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Chris Withe, 4. Greg Fee, 5. Martin Filson, 6. Steve Charles, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Steve Appleby, 9. Chris Cook, 10. Simon Bailey, 11. Len Curtis, 12. Danny Marshall, 14. Paul Cavell, 15. Chris Aiken.