BOSTON UNITED 2 BLYTH SPARTANS 1: Eight unbeaten as Pilgrims move to within five points of the play-offs

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Will it ever end? Ashley Hemmings and Kabongo Tshimanga were on target as Boston United’s fantastic unbeaten run continued.

Craig Elliott’s side made it eight games without defeat - and 22 points from a possible 24 - as they beat Blyth Spartans 2-1.

The result moved the Pilgrims to within five points of their opponents, who occupy the final play-off spot in an entertaining and evenly-balanced contest.

Hemmings converted his 10th penalty of the campaign while super sub Tshimanga’s 13th of the season was his ninth off the bench.

Dan Maguire responded for Spartans.

The first half may have ended goalless but it wasn’t lacking in incident.

A high-tempo, end-to-end opening 45 minutes saw Pilgrims debutant Wes Atkinson block Dale Hopson’s effort on the goalline, while Spartans thought they had been handed the chance to take the lead from a penalty kick.

Martin Woods, who awarded Boston two penalties at Alfreton Town, pointed to the spot after Jon Stewart rushed off his line to deny Maguire.

But a discussion with assistant Dave Jones saw the official reverse his decision, which appeared to be the correct move.

At the other end Reece Thompson forced a save from Peter Jameson with his low drive and Jay Rollins drove an effort wide of the mark following a powerful run.

Hemmings handed Boston the lead in the 62nd minute, converting his 10th spot kick of the season after Thompson was upended by Nathan Buddle.

Refusing to be distracted by Jameson’s crossbar-rattling antics, the winger waited for the keeper to move before guiding the ball down the middle to join Kabongo Tshimanga on top of the Pilgrims scoring charts with 12.

Stewart had to be alert to deny Robbie Dale as Spartans looked to draw level, his effort deflecting off the leg of Andi Thanoj and looping up, only for the Boston stopper to correct himself and palm away.

Stewart’s instincts served him well to deny Maguire’s point-blank header in the 77th-minute, but the Spartans attacker reacted first to fire home a leveller with the number one grounded.

Tshimanga ensured Hemmings didn’t remain level in the scoring charts for long, putting Boston in front for the second time in the 84th minute.

Rollins’ cross was collected by Thompson. His shot on the turn was blocked by Jameson, but Tshimanga was there to prod home on the line.

Jameson had to be alert to deny Hemmings’ stinging drive as United pushed for a third.

But it remained 2-1, with United marching on.

UNITED: Stewart, Atkinson, Brogan, Thanoj, Keane, Qualter, Rollins (Hare 89), Abbott, Thompson, Smith (Tshimanga 75), Hemmings (McGuire 90); Subs: Bennett, Willis.

BLYTH: Jameson, Atkinson, Liddle, Mullen, Buddle, Watson, Rivers, Reid, Maguire, Hopson (Wrightson 65), Dale. Subs: Laidler, McTiernan, Rutherford, MacDonald.

Ref: Martin Woods.

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