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Hereford United 0-1 Pilgrims

Nationwide Conference

by Barbara Singleton

Striker Gez Murphy was the last-gasp hero as Boston United maintained a firm interest in the Conference title race. The Pilgrims' front man hit the target when this generally tepid encounter ticked into stoppage time. His on-target header proved crucial, especially in the light of leaders Dagenham and Redbridge dropping two points on home soil against Yeovil. The win left Boston four points off pole position to set up a potentially exciting run-up to the festive holiday programme. Reflecting on the match, manager Steve Evans said: "It was closely-fought all the way through, but over the 90 minutes I think we probably just shaded it. However, I would have had no complaints if it had ended as a goalless draw. This is always a difficult place to get points. But this result will probably be one which makes people sit up and take notice." Early exchanges at Hereford were even with neither side creating much in the way of a clear-cut chance. The closest call came when Gavin Williams blazed over for the home team after Paul Parry had flicked on a Tony Capaldi free-kick. Boston's most notable early thrust came on 12 minutes through Simon Weatherstone, but his 18-yard effort drifted well wide. Boston upped the tempo as the first half progressed and Mark Angel shot just wide after an excellent run at the home rearguard. In reply, Hereford had a brief passage of ascendancy with Boston keeper Paul Bastock first having to intercept a probing cross from Scott Goodwin and then making a splendid save in the 32nd minute when diving bravely to block at the feet of a clean-through Williams.

Just before the break, Boston carved out two notable chances. First Phil Gray headed just wide from an Angel corner. Then David Town went close with a header following a Simon Weatherstone centre. Referee Lee Probert was a central figure when signalling for the interval at a point when Paul Webb fired goalwards for Hereford. The ball hit the back of Boston's net, but the whistle had already sounded. The balance was arguably restored for this moment of controversy when, on 51 minutes, Boston were denied a penalty for a push on Town. Probert blew for a spot-kick, but then noticed a linesman flagging for an earlier offside offence. In similar fashion to the first half, the second period was also notable largely for its lack of openings. Half-chances for Boston saw Gray fire too high from 25 yards and then Paul Ellender saw a low shot held by Baker. Hereford's responses were more limited with only Scott Voice bringing Bastock into action. Just when a draw seemed inevitable, the Pilgrims grabbed their dramatic winner. Clifford hurled the ball into the home area. Baker dashed from his line but flapped tamely at the ball and substitute MURPHY got into poisition to nod in. The Boston striker almost scored a second deep into stoppage time, but his low shot was deflected wide off the far post.

Boston team: 1. Bastock, 2. Clifford, 3. Gould, 4. R. Weatherstone, 5. Monington, 6. Ellender, 7. Town (Cook 60), 8. Gray (Murphy 81), 9. Clare, 10. S. Weatherstone, 11. Angel (Rusk 85). Subs (not used): Conroy (gk), Lodge.

This report originally appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo.