Ian Culverhouse proud of his Boston United squad after Pilgrims make National League North play-off final

Ian Culverhouse was left beaming with pride after battling Boston United advanced to the National League North play-off final.
Boston United are through to another play-off final after beating Scunthorpe United on penalties. Pic: Lee Keuneke.Boston United are through to another play-off final after beating Scunthorpe United on penalties. Pic: Lee Keuneke.
Boston United are through to another play-off final after beating Scunthorpe United on penalties. Pic: Lee Keuneke.

The plucky Pilgrims beat Scunthorpe United 5-4 on penalties following another hard-fought 0-0 draw.

Michael Bostwick, Zak Mills, Jacob Hazel and Deji Sotona all scored from the spot and although Keaton Ward was denied by ex-Pilgrim Ross Fitzsimons, Jordan Richards stepped up to score - with Cameron Gregory's saves to deny Ross Barrows and Liam McAlinden proving decisive.

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“I’m just proud of the group, they have been an outstanding group,” he said.

“I am immensely proud I really am. There are a lot of foundations that have been laid at the club this year and this club is in a really good position.

“Whatever happens in a week, it is about trying to keep this group together.

“If we can keep the squad together and add a bit of quality around the core group then we are in a great position.

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“We brought the group together at the start of the year and to see them progress and flourish like they have is outstanding, I can't speak highly enough of them.

“The strength of these boys is fantastic. We went toe-to-toe with them, to a man we stood up.

“Both teams cancelled each other out, it shows how tight this league is. The play-off final will be tight. It is a one off game that is about fine margins.”

Culverhouse had once again opted to name an unchanged 16-man squad ahead of kick-off. Alongside Fitzsimons, fellow ex-Pilgrim Danny Elliott was on the Iron bench.

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Scunthorpe started well, with Will Evans sending a header wide from a Jacob Butterfield free-kick delivery, while Callum Roberts' curling cross was cut out by Gregory, with the same player later lashing a free-kick into the United defensive wall.

The first real save of the game fell to Fitzsimons - denying Jimmy Knowles on the angle.

Scunthorpe wanted a penalty for Richards' tangle with Alfie Beestin, but referee Zac Kennard-Kettle was unmoved five minutes after the break.

Dylan Hill flashed an effort over the crossbar following Jai Rowe's cutback before Brad Nicholson took centre stage at the other end, producing a sublime block to deny a near certain goal for Danny Whitehall.

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Richards saw an effort blocked on the line by Barrows, while Fitzsimons turned behind a low drive from Knowles as United sensed a famous away win.

Gregory produced the save of the game in the 72nd minute to turn Roberts' left-footer wide of the post, while Nicholson produced another stunning piece of defending to deny Roberts on the end of Whitehall's unselfish assist.

Extra-time contained yellow cards and substitutions aplenty - but not much noteworthy action otherwise.

Michael Clunan and Elliott got Scunthorpe's spot-kicks off to a positive start, before Gregory's save to thwart Barrows. Whitehall and substitute Dion Sembie-Ferris subsequently kept the Iron alive, but Gregory's low save to thwart McAlinden, after Richards had netted, sealed the deal for the Pilgrims.