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Tony Crane gets a grip

Pilgrims 2-1 Alfreton Town

Conference North

Boston United finally won a game! After six straight defeats they finished the year with a hard fought victory over Alfreton Town. The match saw the debut of 17 year old defender Michael Wood - a product of the club's Centre of Excellence. His addition to the side allowed Paul Ellender to move up into midfield. Jon Stevenson was preferred to Kieran Leabon up front. Adam Smith was making the last appearance of his loan spell from Peterborough. The first action of note was a booking for Tony Crane for a foul on Brian Cusworth in the third minute. To maintain the symmetry Cusworth soon found his name going into the referee's book for a clumsy challenge on Crane. There weren't many clear cut chances for either side in the first half, the best for Boston being a header by Ellender that went over the bar from a free kick and a break by Jon Froggatt which ended with the Boston marksman firing wide. The Pilgrims took the lead early in the second half. Jon Froggatt flicked the ball forwards to STEVENSON who made room to shoot before slotting the ball home between the keeper and the right post. Alfreton then brought on Danny Reet for Brian Cusworth and the substitute almost had an immediate impact but saw his well struck shot from the edge of the area go just too high.

On 66 minutes the Alfreton pressure paid off when Tony BUTLER headed home from a corner after outleaping Ellender. The play now switched from end to end with both sides creating good chances. Stevenson broke down the left wing and he picked out Jon Rowan at the back post with his cross, but Rowan's header was easily saved. A shot by Froggatt then hit the bar before bouncing out via the goal-line and a follow up header came agonisingly close to crossing the line before being cleared by Butler. As the game headed towards the final few minutes Boston regained the lead. Moving forward at speed Jon Rowan collided with Kyle McFadzean and the referee awarded a free kick. Ashley Nicholls delivered a great ball into the box and from the resulting goalmouth scramble Tony CRANE threaded the ball into the net. After the match Tommy Taylor said: "A hard game, it could have gone either way. Really big strong side, but I thought the boys really set about their jobs and really done well today. Sometimes you have to play ugly football to get results. Today we played ugly, but we gave it all we had."

Boston United: Curtis Aspden, Tom Matthews, Adam Smith, Paul Ellender, Tony Crane, Michael Wood, David Galbraith (Kieran Leabon 85), Ashley Nicholls, Jon Froggatt, Jon Stevenson, Jon Rowan. Subs not used: Matt Bloomer, Lee Thompson, Liam Green, Paul Alexander.

Match report and photograph copyright © Ken Fox 2007.