Scott Duxbury salvages a point against Blyth Spartans as Boston United rue missed chances on and off the pitch

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Scott Duxbury scored a stoppage-time leveller as Boston United salvaged a point at home to relegation battlers Blyth Spartans.

The defender headed home Shane Byrne's corner to rescue a point from what would have been a disaster - and extends the home scoring streak to 26 matches.

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However, with Southport and Hereford losing and York involved in FA Trophy action, victory would have propelled the Pilgrims into the play-offs and four points behind fifth-place Chorley, who they meet on Tuesday.

The positive was that the hosts delivered more shots and crosses into the box than in recent performances. The negative was that they lacked quality too often.

For Blyth, who had lost six of their previous seven, they came to within two minutes of their first-ever win in Boston at the 13th attempt.

But Lewis McNall's first half finish - well against the run of play - almost proved the difference as United once again failed to grab a game by the scruff of the neck.

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With Scott Garner, Matt Tootle, Jake Wright snr and Luke Shiels unavailable, Paul Cox plugged his defensive gaps with a back three of Brad Nicholson, Tom Platt and Scott Duxbury, supported by home debutant Femi Seriki and Joe Leesley as wing backs.

Scott Duxbury. Photo: Oliver AtkinScott Duxbury. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Scott Duxbury. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Blyth needed vital blocks to keep out Platt's header and Jordan Burrow's follow-up in the opening minutes, Spartans keeper Alex Mitchell then called upon to hold onto Nicholson's cross as it looked to creep in under the crossbar.

It was all Boston early on. A clever move saw Leesley put Duxbury free down the wing. He cuts inside and drilled a low ball across goal that Seriki, at full stretch, just couldn't guide goalwards.

Danny Elliott attempted to replicate his wonder strike at York City with two long range efforts that couldn't find the target, before the best opportunity of the first 20 minutes came at the other end.

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Blyth's McNall robbed Brad Abbott in his own half and went on a twisting run that forced a low save from Marcus Dewhurst.

Normal service was resumed with Andi Thanoj - his first home appearance since the opening day of the season - seeing an effort deflect wide.

But with 41 minutes on the clock - and completely against the run of play - the visitors took the lead.

A long clearance caught the Boston defence out before Dewhurst got a palm to Connor Thomson's weak effort the ball diverting into the path of McNall, whose effort struck Nicholson on the line on its way in.

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Boston were rattled, and so was the crossbar 19 seconds into the second half as Elliott came within a whisker of levelling.

Shane Byrne rushed an effort over and, even from an offside position, Burrow's header was kept out by the leg of Mitchell, the Spartans stopper holding onto Fraser Preston's header moments later.

Sean Reid cleared a goalbound header before Duxbury forced the leveller.

There was still time for James Hanson and Ntumba Massanka to somehow not force a cross home.

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PILGRIMS: Dewhurst, Duxbury, Platt, Thanoj (Preston 62), Burrow (Masanka 76), Elliott, Abbott, Leesley (Hanson 85), Byrne, Seriki, Nicholson; Subs (not used): Ferguson, Sault.

BLYTH: Mitchell, Liddle, Buddle, Hickey, Maguire (Thomson 27), O’Donnell, Dale (Reid 67), McNall (Capello 82), Deverdics, Lees, Almond; Subs (not used): Byrne, McKeown.

REF: Andrew Humphries.

ATT: 1,345 (43).