REPORT FROM FOOTBALL FIRST
Football First match report:
By Barbara Singleton
transcribed by carole
MANSFIELD kept their play-off hopes alive with victory at the expense of a Boston side who had been on a good run of form.
Two goals early in the second half laid the platform for the Stags' success and they held on despite seeing Boston half the advantage.
The win delighted Mansfield boss Keith Curle, who remained confident his team can still fill an automatic promotion slot after victory at Boston.
He said “This was a crucial win for us. And although a lot of other teams near us also won, we have kept ourselves right in there. I firmly believe we can still claim that third promotion place.
“There will still be some twists and turns, but if we can keep reproducing performances like that we will give ourselves every chance.”
Reflecting on the match he said: “I made a few changes but the team kept its shape well and tactically I thought we put in a solid all round performance.”
Boston manager Steve Evans said: “It was a disappointing result from our point of view, particularly as I felt the two goals they scored were largely down to individuals switching off and not doing their job. I thought we controlled the first half and might have easily have gone into the interval ahead. But two goals early in the second half gave us a mountain to climb.
“However, we still carried the fight to them and might have taken a point late on with a few near misses. Apart from the time when we were chasing the game, I don't think that Mansfield gave us too many problems.” Midfielders David Noble and Tom Bennett gave Boston a solid, creative platform in the opening stages and the Pilgrims were quick to press forward.
Their first chance came in the seventh minute, when a snap-shot by Kevin Hurst was saved by Kevin Pilkington. The visitors took time to settle and managed just a tame off-target shot by Thomas Curtis. The Mansfield defence were then at full stretch. A mix-up between Pilkington and defender Rhys Day let in Hurst, but his angled drive was cleared off the line by Alex-John Baptiste.
Mansfield made a better start to the second half and, in the 49th minute, Neil MacKenzie saw two shots blocked by a wall of Boston bodies.
But 60 seconds later, the visitors went ahead when Neil MacKenzie threaded a free-kick through for Larkin to cut inside and fire past Bastock from an acute angle.
In the 59th minute the visitors doubled their lead. A sweeping move saw Larkin fire in a shot which was parried by Bastock and in the follow-up melee Liam Lawrence and home defender Paul Ellender tussled for possession with the latter getting the final touch past his own keeper.
But Boston hit back in the 69th minute when Lee Beevers surged down the left and laid the ball inside for Stuart Balmer to deliver an exquisite curling 20-yard finish.
Boston Utd………… Mansfield Town
51-----------Possession %---- 49
8------------Shots on Target---5
4------------Shots off Target---4
Latest | April 2004