Boston United 1-2 Gainsborough Trinity
County bragging rights went the way of Gainsborough Trinity as goals from Leon Mettam and Darryn Stamp were enough to defeat Boston United.
Mettam opened the scoring from a contentious penalty two minutes before half-time and Stamp struck two minutes after Nathan Stainfield had headed an equaliser on the hour mark.
Stainfield was denied a second goal by a terrific Jason White save on the stroke of full-time, as a full-blooded local derby ended in favour of the play-off chasing visitors.
Trinity, roared on by 144 travelling supporters in the away end, carried the greater threat during the first half.
Paul Bastock, back in the side after illness, made an excellent save to deny Stamp early on — but only after his own poor clearance had put the Trinity frontman in the clear. Ryan Williams shovelled the rebound well wide.
Jamie Yates — the pantomime villain of the piece in United fans’ eyes — blazed an effort marginally wide, while Bastock saved well at the feet of hotshot Ryan Kendall.
Bastock made a sprawling save to deny Shane Clarke, while Stamp rattled the crossbar with a hooked effort following a Dominic Roma cross.
Ben Milnes had United’s first real chance when he blasted wide following a neat Boston move.
Referee Matthew Buonassisi, who missed the infamous Rory Coleman handball against Gloucester City last season under his previous name of McLaughlin, awarded the visitors a spot-kick two minutes before half-time.
Tom Ward was adjudged to have fouled Clarke and METTAM, who was on for the injured Kendall, sent Bastock the wrong way from 12 yards.
United were a different proposition after the break and White made an excellent save to keep out Milnes’ 25-yard dipper.
Stainfield then headed wide, while Ross’ 20-yarder deflected off target, but the duo soon combined to draw United level. Ross supplied the corner delivery and STAINFIELD flashed a header past White from close-range.
Parity was short-lived though. Williams pinged a brilliant crossfield ball into the path of STAMP, who looped an excellent header beyond the grasp of Bastock.
Mettam was close to a third for Trinity, but he blasted wide, and the Pilgrims gradually stepped up their offensive in the closing stages.
Substitute Jason Lee looped a header against the crossbar following Ryan Semple’s cross, while Ross’ curling free-kick was only a fraction wide.
United came even closer when White produced a magnificent save, high to his left, to keep out Stainfield’s goalbound header, while Lee headed narrowly wide following a Kevin Austin cross as time ran out and the points headed to the north of the county.
Boston (4-3-3): Paul Bastock; Lee Canoville, Tom Ward, Nathan Stainfield, Gareth Jelleyman (Kevin Austin 46); Ben Milnes, Ian Ross, Josh Burge (Jason Lee 63); Ben Fairclough (Ryan Semple 46), Spencer Weir-Daley, Marc Newsham. Subs (not used): Conor Marshall, James Reed.
Gainsborough (4-4-2): Jason White, Dominic Roma, Luke Waterfall, Andrew Boyce, Kevin Sandwith; Ryan Williams (Michael Leary 83), Shane Clarke, Jonathan D’Laryea, Jamie Yates; Darryn Stamp (Paul Connor 88), Ryan Kendall (Leon Mettam 27). Subs (not used): Adam Watts, Ryan Paczkowski.
Referee: Matthew Buonassisi