Boston United made up vital ground on Hednesford Town after comfortably coming out on top with a convincing win between two play-off chasing sides at The Jakemans Stadium.
The first day of Spring brought warm sunshine to Lincolnshire but dark clouds gathered over Hednesford’s promotion prospects as The Pitmen found themselves two goals down within the first 15 minutes.
The Pilgrims had been reduced to nine men last week against Harrogate Town inside the first quarter of the game but this time round, thanks to some rather poor Hednesford defending, the three points were wrapped up very early on.
Despite a lively start from Charlie Anagho-Ntamark for the away side, Ben Bailey gave away a penalty when Ricky Miller drew a misjudged tackle from the defender and the referee had no option but to point to the spot.
Miller picked himself up and superbly despatched the penalty into the left hand corner despite Dan Crane guessing the right way and the second goal came when a simple cross was played in from the right where Scott Garner jumped highest to loop a header over the helpless goalkeeper.
The Pitmen were clearly rocked by conceding the two early goals and, with Jamey Osborne targeted by the Boston midfield to the tune of three yellow cards, Rob Smith’s men never really got a foothold in the game.
Anagho-Ntamark looked the likeliest to score, seeing a half volley clawed away by Lewis King and shooting wide shortly afterwards but the home side could have grabbed a third goal when Miller forced a smart save from Crane with a left-footed shot just before the break.
The key turning point in the match came after the interval when Paul Sullivan replaced Marvin Robinson and from a Jamey Osborne free kick on 48 minutes the former Chasetown man had a superb chance to open his Hednesford account.
Marvin Robinson’s header was blocked on the line and as the loose ball fell to Sullivan he slammed it against the underside of the crossbar and clear of the goal.
That chance proved the closest Hednesford came to reducing the deficit as only minutes later Boston raced clear when John Disney lost a 50/50 tackle high up the pitch, the ball fell to Liam Agnew who easily slotted the ball past Crane to deflate the travelling Pitmen supporters.
Nathan Woolfe was introduced for the away side but the inevitable fourth goal came on 79 minutes when substitute Ben Milnes lashed a loose ball into the net after Ben Bailey desperately blocked the initial shot.
The travelling Hednesford faithful commendably applauded their players off the pitch, but they will know as much as the management and squad that any more defensive performances similar to this will prove a serious obstacle to The Pitmen’s hopes of promotion.
King, Steer, Ferguson, Weir-Daley (Fairclough 65), Garner, Piergianni, Ross (c) (Marshall 45), McGhee (Milnes 54), Miller, Newsham, Agnew
Subs Not Used
Crane, Disney, Melbourne, McCone, Bailey (c), Macpherson (Sullivan 45), Osborne, Riley, Robinson (Woolfe 64), Anagho-Ntamark (Lennon 71), Thorley
Subs Not Used
Bookings: Osborne, Ross, Steer, McGhee
Attendance – 1102
Star Man – Ricky Miller
Entertainment Rating – 1 Star
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Photos by Colin Rogers