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Boston United 2 Worcester City 3
10:20pm Tuesday 27th March 2012 in Blue Square Conference North Table & Results By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER City gave their play-off ambitions a huge shot in the arm with a dramatic victory at Boston United.
Goals from Michael Taylor and Mike Symons were both cancelled out by Marc Newsham penalties, before Matt Birley netted the winner, also from the spot, midway through the second half.
The success was even more impressive given that City were without captain Kevin O’Connor and midfield colleague Tom Thorley through suspension and injury respectively.
Manager Carl Heeley was, however, able to call on Tyler Weir, playing with his wrist heavily strapped, and the Hereford United loanee joined Rob Elvins in the centre.
Worcester, skippered by Stuart Whitehead, produced an assured display from back to front as they completed the double over the Pilgrims.
They took a deserved lead after just 19 minutes when Ellis Deeney sprinted down the left, fired the ball into the box and Taylor darted across the near post to turn the ball past Paul Bastock.
The visitors, with Birley on the right flank and Dwayne Samuels at right-back, began to grow in confidence.
Boston were not going to let them have it all their own way and a 27th-minute shot from Spencer Weir-Daley flashed inches wide of James Dormand’s goal.
However, their equaliser seven minutes later owed more to the generosity of referee Adrian Holmes than the Pilgrims’ attacking prowess.
Weir-Daley’s collision with Whitehead looked innocuous but Holmes deemed it a foul and Newsham beat Dormand from the penalty spot.
Aggrieved, City restored their advantage barely 60 seconds later as Greg Mills’ cross fell to Symons 10 yards out and he lashed the ball past Bastock.
Symons volleyed a foot over the bar four minutes later but the visitors needed Whitehead to come to their rescue on the stroke of half-time.
Newsham’s shot seemed destined for the bottom corner but the former Telford centre-half was in the right place to hack clear inside the six-yard box.
Boston, however, drew level again just three minutes into the second-half with another penalty that left City fuming.
This time it was Deeney who was penalised for a challenge on Newsham and the Pilgrims striker beat Dormand from 12 yards.
City, though, regained their lead for a third time in the 67th minute when Nathan Stainfield toppled Taylor in the box and Birley beat Bastock from 12 yards.
Conor Marshall rattled a post for the hosts, who were also thwarted when Dormand produced fine reflexes to push away Newsham’s header and got down low to save from Ryan Semple.
The hosts also thought they had equalised in the final seconds but Kevin Austin’s header went the wrong side of the upright and Worcester celebrated a crucial triumph.
City: Dormand 8, Weir 9* (Green 86), Deeney 8, Birley 8, Rowe 8, Whitehead 8, Samuels 8, Elvins 8, Symons 8, Taylor 8 (Carey-Bertram 75), Mills 8 (Edwards 52, 7). Subs not used: Ayres, Sargeant.
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