Boston United 2-1 Blyth Spartans
Ashley Hemmings and Kabongo Tshimanga struck the decisive blows as Boston United continued their upward momentum on Saturday afternoon.
The Pilgrims were 2-1 victors over promotion-chasing Blyth Spartans at The Jakemans Stadium to clinch a seventh win in eight league matches.
Hemmings' 62nd minute spot-kick had been cancelled out by Dan Maguire 15 minutes later but Tshimanga scored the winner with six minutes to play.
It was a cracking contest played in wet and muddy conditions as Craig Elliott’s side stretched their stunning run of form in the process.
The sides cancelled each other out early on, although Blyth did need successive blocks from David Atkinson to thwart the ever-dangerous Reece Thompson midway through the half.
United debutant Wes Atkinson produced an excellent block on the line at the other end to deny Dale Hopson, who sailed the rebound high over Jon Stewart’s crossbar.
The visitors were awarded a penalty five minutes before half-time, but with plenty of discussion nationally about the new VAR initiative, United were reliant on the input of assistant referee David Jones.
He intervened to inform referee Martin Woods that Stewart had indeed saved well to deny Maguire before catching the Blyth forward and the decision was duly overturned.
United edged in front through their own penalty 17 minutes after the break. Thompson was bundled over by Nathan Buddle and HEMMINGS coolly sailed home his 12th goal of the season.
Blyth were a threat all afternoon, led by the creative talents of Robbie Dale, and Stewart had to be alert to deny Spartans’ talisman after his long-range effort deflected off Andi Thanoj.
The visitors levelled in the 77th minute when Ian Watson delivered a fine ball into the box and after saving his initial header, Stewart could only watch on as MAGUIRE tucked home the rebound.
United were undettered though and retook the lead seven minutes later when substitute TSHIMANGA touched the ball home on the line after Jay Rollins had crossed for Thompson to work an initial shooting opportunity.
There was still time for Peter Jameson to spectacularly deny Hemmings his second and United’s third, but the Pilgrims held on for a memorable victory.
Boston (4-4-2): Jon Stewart; Wes Atkinson, Ryan Qualter, Jordan Keane, Stephen Brogan; Jay Rollins (Taron Hare 89), Brad Abbott, Andi Thanoj, Ashley Hemmings (Jamie McGuire 90); Reece Thompson, Gregg Smith (Kabongo Tshimanga 75). Subs (not used): Lee Bennett, George Willis (gk).
Blyth Spartans (4-2-3-1): Peter Jameson; Michael Liddle, David Atkinson, Nathan Buddle, Ian Watson; Sean Reid, Damen Mullen; Jarrett Rivers, Dale Hopson (Adam Wrightson 65), Robbie Dale; Dan Maguire. Subs (not used): Jordan Laidler, David McTiernan, Greg Rutherford, Shaun MacDonald (gk).
Referee: Martin Woods.
Attendance: 1,203 (69 visitors).