MATT Heron’s last-minute winner broke Boston Town hearts last night.
In the 90th minute, the big, burly front man side-footed home from close range to earn Deeping Rangers all three points in this United Counties League Premier Division clash.
But as Rangers mobbed their match winner, the Poachers were left thinking what could have been.
After a poor second-half, injury-hit Town thought they had somehow snatched a point in this Lincolnshire derby as Ollie Pinner rose highest to powerfully head home an equaliser with just two minutes remaining.
And seconds later, they could have taken the lead when Lori Borbely’s dipping effort just landed the wrong side of the bar.
However, it was Deeping who were to have the final say in a game where they looked the more comfortable side.
Town were guilty of not making their early dominance pay.
Full of confidence following four consecutive victories, the Poachers took the game to their guests from the off.
Luke Toner and Simon Mowbray – who grabbed a hat-trick during Saturday’s 4-1 drubbing of AFC Kempston Rovers – both lashed efforts powerfully off target.
It was balls over the top which were causing Deeping most trouble.
The pace of Mowbray and strike partner Josh Ford had the claret and blues’ defence on tenterhooks.
But Deeping also had their own speedy threat in the shape of ex-Poacher Loz Lambley.
As the visitors edged more and more into the game, Lambley saw a hooked effort deflected wide.
Alex Beck - another former Tattershall Road favourite – and Nick Jackson, a product of Boston United’s youth academy, both saw drives blocked.
But back came Town.
Mowbray should have shot sooner when Deeping keeper James Doughty saved at his feet, and then – somehow – the best chance of the half went begging.
Steven Julian made a rash two-footed lunge at a loose ball in midfield – only to completely miss.
This allowed Mowbray to break down the unguarded right flank and square into the box.
But Matt Barber – the Poachers’ most clinical finisher in recent weeks – rushed his effort and thrashed the ball over the crossbar.
Perhaps that was the turning point of the game as Deeping fought back and took the lead in the 44th minute.
Harry Deane, formerly with Boston United, put Rangers ahead with a beautiful curling effort from the edge of the Town penalty area, leaving Doug Lindberg helplessly scrambling across his goal.
Seconds after the re-start and Deeping could have extended their lead, but Sam Kirton was alert to head Matt Heron’s looping effort off the goalline.
Heron then saw a glancing header skip off the wet turf and fall inches off target as Deeping were now in control of the match.
Boston were disjointed and struggling to keep possession.
But a few moments of skill created opportunities.
Shane Clancy’s surging run and cross was met by Borbely at the near post, but his stabbed effort went wide.
And when Jason Field latched on to a punted ball forward, the left back ran at pace before seeing a low drive skip away from Doughty’s goal.
Attempting to inject some fresh pace into the clash, Deeping replaced Lambley with Dan Evans.
And the son of former Pilgrims boss Steve looked dangerous when he went on a mazy run... until he was brought to a painful halt by Michael Wood’s no-nonsense block.
On 88 minutes, Town’s players mobbed Pinner as his thumping finish appeared to have earned a point.
That was until Heron stepped up, causing Town to suffer their first home defeat of the campaign.
TOWN: Lindberg, Wilson, Field, Foster, Wood, Kirton, Clancy, Toner, Ford, Mowbray, Barber; Subs: Borbely, Maltby, Pinner, Stocks, Hocking.
DEEPING: Doughty, Tinkler, Jackson, Ashton, Julian, Holt, Deane, Burton-Jones, Beck, Heron, Lambley; Subs (Evans), Waumsley, Birtles.