Boston United 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0


Two late goals condemned Diamonds to Conference football after five years in the Football League.

Diamonds stated the match in their usual 4-4-2 formation with Phil Gulliver returning from injury to partner Wayne Hatswell in the centre of defence. Gulliver replaced Rob Gier who was suspended.

Diamonds started the brightest of the two sides shading the possession in the first 10 – 15 minutes without creating any clear-cut chances. Boston always looked dangerous on the counter attack with the experienced Joachim and nippy Thomas.

The first real chance of the game came on the 15 minute mark when Scott Tynan had to be quick off his line to collect the ball at the feet of Boston’s David Galbraith after a slick Boston move executed with pace. At the other end Diamonds were unlucky not to get a free-kick on the edge of the area when Darren Caskey seemed to have been climbed all over. Ashley Nichols put in a beautiful cross that seemed to cause United all sorts of problems.

Only a couple of minutes later Diamonds were awarded a free kick on the right hand side from which Caskey produced a great delivery, Gulliver won the header at the back post, however Boston were able to clear their lines much to the frustration of the Diamonds fans behind the goal. Gulliver was booked moments later, after seeming to catch Boston midfielder Galbraith, who was soon replaced by Steve Merton.

Merton almost made an instant impact, and after good interplay with Peter Till on the edge of the Diamonds box found Joachim at the back post, who shot straight at Tynan. The home side finding themselves under an increasing amount of pressure, had to be alert to block a long-range effort from Tony Stokes, and watch John Turner head over from another Caskey delivery. On 36 minutes Diamonds were awarded another free kick in a wide position but after squandering possession found themselves on the backfoot as Boston broke two-on-two. Tynan remained a spectator as the ball bounced wide of his far post.

In the remaining five minutes of the first half the game opened up a little with Jackson unable to connect properly with a header from another Caskey cross, and at the other end Tynan had to be equal to Danny Thomas’s shot after an uncharacteristic mistake by Ashley Nichols. Diamonds could have also considered themselves unlucky not to have a penalty as the ball looked to have struck the hand of a Boston defender.

Half-time: Boston United 0-0 Rushden & Diamonds.

Boston came out five minutes late for the second half as both teams found it hard to get going. The Boston wall did well to block Hatswell’s free kick, with Jackson unable to get any real power when he turned and shot from the edge of the area. Jackson was involved again minutes later when booked for diving by the referee, before Tyrone Berry was brought on to replace Turner.

On 53 minutes Boston should have taken the lead when they tore down the right flank, however, when the low cross was swung in towards Thomas, Nichols was first to the ball, putting it out for a corner. Following this scare, Diamonds again pushed forwards, Jackson’s pace again causing problems, while Hatswell heading tamely towards Logan in the Boston goal.

Diamonds continued to attack with both Jackson and Berry thwarted. Boston made their third and final substitution replacing Jamie Clarke with Brad Maylett. He was instantly involved in the next attack which saw Tynan make his first real contribution of the second half. Diamonds switched Broughton for Mikolanda, and were again unfortunate not to be awarded with a penalty, as the ball struck a Boston defender on the hand.

The game was now wide open and Tynan made a great save to keep the score level after Joachim’s downward header fell to Maylett, whose first time volley looked destined for the bottom corner. Lee Tomlin was introduced at the expense of Ronnie Bull as Barry Hunter looked to go more on the attack. On 84 minutes following good work by Jackson down the right the teenager found Hatswell unmarked on the backpost who blazed the ball over when it looked easier to score.

Diamonds were left to rue what might have been as on 88 minutes when Boston substitute Lawie Dudfield was picked out with a long-ball down the middle. He rounded Tynan and despite the best efforts of Hatswell slotted the ball into the net to make it 1-0. Boston were not content with just the one goal and continued to press forwards, and after Gulliver had saw his shot blocked in the second minute of injury time, Boston broke to make to make it 2-0, with a fine solo run and finish by Danny Thomas. With defeat came the confirmation that Diamonds were indeed relegated, and the clubs five year spell in the Football League was over.

Full-time: Boston United 2-0 Rushden & Diamonds.

Rushden & Diamonds:
Nicholls, Gulliver, Hatswell, Bull (Tomlin 81),
Turner (Berry 53), Caskey, Stokes, Kelly,
Broughton (Mikolanda 74), Jackson.

Subs Not Used: Hunter, Crane.

Bookings: Gulliver, Jackson.

Boston United:
McCann, White, Canoville, Ellender (Melton 21),
Till (Dudfield 32), Galbraith, Clarke (Maylett 66), Holland,
Joachim, Thomas.

Subs not Used: Silk, Chinn.

Bookings: Canoville.

Attendance: 2,489

Goals: Dudfield 88, Thomas 90+2.

Referee: C Webster (Tyne & Wear).


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