Scunthorpe were held to a 1-1 draw in the Lincolnshire derby, after Connor Smith’s late goal was almost immediately cancelled out by an equaliser from Jordan Richardson.
The Iron travelled to Boston for a Lincolnshire derby under the lights of the Jakemans Community Stadium, while Jimmy Dean’s side were looking to rectify their recent away form against a Pilgrims side that had only been defeated twice at home all campaign.
Dean made one change to the starting XI that ran out 6-1 winners on Saturday against Bishop's Stortford. That change came in the form of captain Michael Clunan who returned to the squad following a recent illness in place of Leeds United loanee Jack Jenkins. In other team news, former Pilgrim’s striker Danny Elliott made his way onto the bench replacing fellow front man Richie Bennett.
The hosts got the game underway despite early speculation of the games possible postponement and began the encounter the stronger of the two sides under a blanket of mist and fog.
Despite the opening 10 minutes of proceedings being what could’ve only been described as a game of head tennis, the Iron were able to manufacture the first real opportunity of the encounter through technically gifted winger Jason Law. Veteran midfielder Jacob Butterfield’s long-lofted free kick wasn’t completely cleared by the home side, which allowed Law to snap a low driven effort that nestled just wide of an untroubled Cameron Gregory in the Pilgrims goal.
As action continued, Boston were presented with the chance to gain an early lead when they were awarded a free-kick straight down the throat of united goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons. Former Doncaster Rovers midfielder Martin Woods stood over the set piece although his resulting strike was sent spiralling into Fitzsimons’ welcoming grasp.
Soon after, the Iron were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position of their own. Opting for a left-footed attempt this time, Butterfield delightfully whipped the ball aloft a three-man strong Boston wall only for the ball to again drop just wide of the target and the onlooking Gregory.
As time in the half ebbed away, neither side was able to create a clear-cut opportunity to take the lead in the tie. Numerous half chances came and went for united including a Danny Whitehall glancing header that whistled just wide of the mark with half time being sounded by referee Michael Robertson-Tant in the minutes that followed.
When play resumed for the second period both sides strong-willed first half performances looked set to continue as the Pilgrims and the Iron were constantly cancelling one another out whenever in or out of possession.
After a scrappy 10 minutes of second half action, the hosts created the first notable chance youthful forward Jimmy Knowles. Knowles got the better of his marker Andrew Boyce by chopping inside, this allowed him to unleash an ambitious curling effort towards Fitzsimons which the experienced shot stopper parried away with relative ease.
The Pilgrims continued their impressive second half performance when Knowles again came close to attaining his third goal of the campaign when he lurched to rob the ball away from Will Evans and round Fitzsimons. When it seemed certain that Knowles would tap the ball home Boyce came to the Iron’s rescue coming across and sending the ball into row Z and to keep the score at 0-0.
Scunthorpe appeared to take that as a warning sign, springing into sudden action with substitute Cameron Wilson who burst down the right flank with bravery and determination and stung a powerful strike goalward that was marginally kept out by Gregory.
The Iron took further confidence from this chance and 75 minutes into the tie the first goal was finally found from inform Heart of Midlothian loanee Connor Smith. Substitute Jenkins had only just been introduced to the fray when he dispossessed Pilgrims captain Michael Bostwick and slotted through Smith who, despite complicating his workload, danced in and out of a crowd of yellow shirts before placing the ball past the onrushing Gregory.
United’s newly forged 1-0 advantage was almost immediately cancelled out though as Boston found an equaliser practically immediately. The danger man Knowles played creator again as he chipped a delicate ball into the feet of Jordan Richardson who stung a powerful strike past the outstretched arm of Fitzsimons to level the scores.
A nail-biting end to the encounter was inches away from resulting in a late Boston winner. Woods’ deep free kick right at the game’s death left an almighty gasp around the Jakemans Community Stadium as captain Bostwick’s header bounced awkwardly and smashed post much to the relief of Fitzsimons.
A point arguably a fair result on the night meaning that united move to within four points of league leaders Tamworth with plenty of fixtures remaining across the National League North season.