PILGRIMS v HARRIERS: Dominic Knowles wraps up a week to remember as Boston United down Kidderminster

Boston United 2 Kidderminster Harriers 0

Dominic Knowles. Photo: Eric Brown

(Dominic Knowles 37, 43)

Dominic Knowles wrapped up a week to remember with two goals to sink Kidderminster Harriers.

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The Boston United striker netted twice in the first half to add to the winner he scored against Brackley on Tuesday night, taking his tally for the season to 12.

Knowles may steal the headlines once again for his brace, but the victory was built upon another solid defensive display as Craig Elliott’s side kept their third clean sheet in four matches against a side who showed more attacking quality and fight than their lowly league standing suggests.

The result sees the Pilgrims remain fifth in the National League North, but they have pulled level on points with Brackley, who have a superior goal difference.

Frank Mulhern, who joined on loan from Stockport County yesterday, went straight into the starting line-up as Craig Elliott made two changes to the side which beat Brackley on Tuesday.

Jay Rollins also got the nod as Brad Abbott, who picked up an ankle injury in training, missed out and Martyn Woolford dropped to the bench.

Scott Garner passed a fitness test following his calf troubles, but was named amongst the substitutes.

Kidderminster keeper Will Mannion had to be alert to prevent Alex Penny’s early cross sneaking past him while Boston’s Peter Crook watched as Ashley Hemmings’ corner grazed his bar at the other end.

Crook was then called upon to hold on to Austin Samuels’ header before United turned up the heat.

Mulhern came close to opening his Pilgrims account when he collected Luke Shiels’ cross-field pass, cut inside past Cliff Moyo but forced a solid near-post save from Mannion, who seconds later tipped Andi Thanoj’s 20 yarder over his bar.

In a half that ebbed and flowed, the Harriers saw Ashley Chambers’ deflected effort clip the Pilgrims’ post before Crook used his body to deny Samuels from close range after he’d bulldozed his way through the Boston backline.

Knowles put the Pilgrims ahead in the 37th minute as he finished off a neat team move.

Rollins won back possession from Ryan Johnson before Jordan Thewlis surged forward, selflessly slipping in Mulhern, whose dinked effort beat Mannion before Knowles made sure with a close-range header.

And it was 2-0 six minutes later as that Thewlis-Mulhern-Knowles combination again worked wonders.

This time Thewlis found Mulhern on the halfway line. His long, teasing, inch-perfect diagonal pass was picked up by Knowles, who cut inside and wrong-footed the Harriers stopper with a low drive from the edge of the box that nestled in at Mannion’s near post for his 12th of the season.

The second half began with Knowles blasting an effort high into Town End before Harriers enjoyed a spell of creativity, driving runs from Samuels and Hemmings stretching the Boston defence.

But United’s back four stood firm, Crook tipping Samuels’ goalbound effort wide on the one occasion the defence was breached.

UNITED: Crook, Penny, Whittle, Platt, Ainge, Shiels, Rollins, Thanoj, Knowles (Wafula 79), Thewlis (Jackson 87), Mulhern (Tuton 88); Subs (not used): Tuton, Garner, Woolford.

HARRIERS: Mannion, Austin, Shenton (Nabi 73), Moyo, Johnson, Lowe, Prosser, Butterfield (E. Williams 89), Chambers, Hemmings, Samuels; Subs (not used): Freemantle, Davidson, Palmer.

REF: Ed Duckworth.

ATT: 1,278 (79).