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Ellender gets stuck in

Pilgrims 3-0 Kidderminster Harriers

Nationwide League

by Barbara Singleton

Two goals from striker Richard Logan and one courtesy of midfielder Simon Weatherstone laid the foundations for another excellent result on Boston United's road to survival. The Pilgrims decisively crushed promotion-chasing Kidderminster Harriers to bolster their own climb towards safety and at the same time deal a jolt to their rivals' play-off aspirations. The result consolidated United position of 18th in the division and added more positive statistics to a run of form which now stands at five wins and four draws from their last 11 outings, with seven clean sheets for added good measure. But manager Neil Thompson kept a balanced opinion on matters. He said: "It was a good win and keeps our improved run going. But I still believe there is more to come. What it does prove to everyone, though, is that our players can compete with any team in the division." Initially the Pilgrims looked somewhat uncertain in the opening throes, notably with the central midfield pairing of Paul Ellender and Tom Bennett taking time to develop and understanding. But as the match progressed, Ellender in particular gave a masterful display - disrupting Harriers' attacks and setting in motion many of United's most promising attacks. Early on, the first real sniff of goal went Kidderminster's way but Drewe Broughton was unable to cash in on rare defensive uncertainty between Ben Chapman and Paul Bastock. Once that mini-blip was overcome, Boston began to impose themselves for forcefully with Logan seeing a shot blocked and then Peter Duffield heading a Chapman cross just wide. Harriers briefly hit back with a spell of ascendancy during which time former Pilgrims Dion Scott headed over from a Sam Shilton corner and then leading scorer Bob Henriksen and Adie Smith shooting off-target when other half-chances opened up.

It was perhaps slightly against the run of play that United broke the deadlock on 24 minutes when LOGAN netted with a sweetly-struck effort. But the goal had been of his own creation. He charged down an attempted clearance by Craig Hinton and then latched on to a neatly threaded pass from Duffield who seized on the resultant loose ball. After more moments of pressure, Boston went further ahead in the 44th minute when Paddy McCarthy and Duffield linked well before the latter fed SIMON WEATHERSTONE. And with a cracking first-time drive, he buried the ball high into the net from an acute angle. Almost immediately, visiting keeper Fraser Digby had to make quick-fire saves to deny Bennett and Logan to keep his side in with some sort of second half recovery. Boston, though, kept things tight for the first 20 minutes after the break. In fact the next clear cut chance to arrive came on 67 minutes when Weatherstone was fed by Ellender but saw Digby tip away his rising drive. Kidderminster never really got fully into the argument and a team Andrew Bishop header was easily held by Paul Bastock. The Boston keeper's only serious action of the afternoon came on 78 minutes when he showed good concentration and alertness to produce a stunning tip-over save from substitute Sean Parrish's fierce drive from just inside the box. Boston, though, continued to look dangerous and with Logan, Duffield, substitute Liam George and later Stuart Douglas all making life difficult for the Harriers' back line. It was no surprise when LOGAN grabbed his second on 83 minutes when evading his marker to connect with an Ellender pass and steer the ball beyond Digby for his ninth goal since joining the Pilgrims.

United team: (4-4-2) 1 Bastock, 2. McCarthy, 3. Balmer (R Weatherstone 90), 4. Hocking, 5. Chapman, 6. S Weatherstone, 7. Bennett, 8. Ellender, 9. Gould (George 36), 10. Logan, 11. Duffield (Douglas 76). Subs (not used): Town, Price (gk).

Photo copyright © Ken Fox, 2003.