BOSTON United Reserves have a firm grasp on the Lincolnshire League title after securing a hard-fought derby win over Swineshead Institute last night.
But the visitors made the Pilgrims - who had first-teamers Lawrie Dudfield, Stef Frost, Marc Newsham, Shane Clarke and manager Jason Lee among their ranks - work for their 2-0 success.
United leading scorer Mickey Stones and Dudfield grabbed the all-important goals, Dudfield on target in his first game back since retiring in 2009.
The victory now means the Boston second string are top of the Lincs League with 55 points, 12 points clear of second-placed Cleethorpes Town with both sides having four fixtures left to play.
Lincoln United are, however, United’s main title rivals as they are 15 points behind but with three games in hand.
But just five more points - possibly four with Boston’s considerable goal-difference - will be enough for the title.
A crowd of 201 watched the entertaining contest, where Swineshead - who had already claimed Boston’s scalp earlier this season - gave as good as they got and refused to roll over against the experienced Pilgrims, which included former Premier League striker Lee.
It was fitting that Stones - who had been bumped up to the first team squad for Saturday’s clash against Worcester City - would grab the goal that all-but ensured the league title.
The captain headed home Nathan Rawdon’s corner early into the second half to bag his 23rd of the campaign.
The Pilgrims wrapped up all three points when Dudfield, who signed last Wednesday as a free agent, wriggled free of his marker to head home substitute Luke Wilson’s brilliant right-wing cross.
UNITED: Ricky Drury, Nathan Rawdon (Luke Wilson 77), Tom Ward, Jason Lee, Matt Price (Andrew Shinn 84), Stef Frost, Steve Lovett (Jason Field 70), Shane Clarke, Marc Newsham; Mickey Stones, Lawrie Dudfield. Subs (not used): Tom Sergeant, Liam Ogden.
SWINESHEAD: Andrew Stukins, James Andrew, Chris Shipley, Nathan Stainfield, Nic Stone (Mark Sharman 75), Benn Houghton (Richard Stukins 75), Karl Melton, Ben Harris, Paul Clarke; Rob Masters, Robert Snaith (Tony Pascu 60); Sub (not used): Tim Tyler.