BOSTON UNITED 1 NUNEATON TOWN 1: Late drama as McGowan grabs stoppage-time leveller

Brad McGowan.
Brad McGowan.

Brad McGowan forced home a stoppage-time leveller as Boston United snatched a late point against Nuneaton Town.

Boro sub Mitchell Glover looked to have won it as he scored with his first touch in the 89th minute.

But McGowan added to the late drama, making sure of a deserved point at the death.

Nuneaton took the lead when Jan Yeomans was robbed in possession by his own box, with the late arrival forcing home the cross from close range.

But Boston - who had been frustrated in front of goal for the full 90 minutes - made sure they didn’t suffer defeat number three in a row.

James Clifton’s corner was knocked down by Gregg Smith, and McGowan was in the right place to volley home fro m close range.

The afternoon heat - along with the Pilgrims chasing shadows with nine men for much of Saturday’s defeat at FC United - played its part in a low-key affair in which neither side really managed to gain a firm foothold in the contest.

Two seasons ago the corresponding fixture at the Jakemans Stadium was a play-off place decider, but with the two opponents both beginning the day on six points it was a contest neither could really afford to lose. And that showed.

Nonetheless, there could have been a winner had the two keepers - United’s George Willis and Dean Lyness of the Boro - not both made superb saves on the rare occasions they were called upon.

Both teams had opportunities to grab an early lead as Clifton’s free kick evaded all in the box until Jack Broadhead, at full stretch, could only stab the ball wide.

At the other end Jordan Nicholson was slipped in by Ashley Chambers but his cross for Tom Elliott was overhit.

Nuneaton, although confident spraying the ball about in attack, appeared to have a fragility to their defence, which included ex-Pilgrims Brad Gascoigne and Courtney Wildin.

Boston were enjoying possession down the flanks and Jay Rollins could have done better to pick out the unmarked Kabongo Tshimanga after his darting run created a breakaway chance.

Broadhead then went close from consecutive corners, seeing one effort blocked on the line and another squirm wide.

The final effort of a half that struggled to get above lukewarm in the afternoon sun fell to Chambers, but as he met Wildin’s cross an awkward bounce saw the ball loop up off his chest and away from danger.

The second half began with Ashley Hemmings collecting Lyness’ goal kick on the halfway line, sprinting down on goal and unleashing a 20-yard effort which the Boro keeper palmed away.

The stopper then comfortably held onto Smith’s effort from the edge of the box.

The long ball over the top which was United’s undoing twice at FC United, almost caught them out again, but as Chambers got a sight of goal he drilled wide.

And history repeated itself moments later, this time Chambers’ effort deflecting wide.

Willis was called into action as Brady Hicky almost headed Nuneaton ahead after meeting Niall Heaton’s long throw, but the United pulled off an acrobatic stop.

But Lyness also showed his shot stopping ability, getting down well to deny Tyrell Waite’s thumper with his right hand, before Clifton struck a long ranger over.

In what was becoming a sparring match between two keepers, Willis then took his turn to warm his fingers, blocking Nicholson’s powerful strike from distance.

Then as the game appeared to be heading for a drab draw, the two sides discovered their shooting boots.

UNITED: Willis, Clifton, Yeomans, Broadhead, McGowan, Keane, Rollins, Chapman, Smith, Hemmings (Waite 69), Tshimanga (Vince 60); Subs (not used): Hare, Hawley, McGuire.

NUNEATON: Lyness, L. Wildin, C. Wildin, Beswick, Gascoigne, Heaton, Henshall (Ball HT), Elliott, Chambers, Hickey, Nicholson (Glover 88); Subs (not used): Tweed, Ashton, Taylor.

Att: 1,020 (55).

Ref: Ricky Wootton.