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Vanarama Conference North

Boston United 

Hednesford Town

McCone (38), Sullivan (43)

(0) 0

(2) 2



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Ben Bailey


Colwyn Bay (H) 7.10.14

The Pitmen turned in arguably their finest performance of the season to date to claim a fine three points at Boston United this afternoon, with two goals before half time sealing the win for Rob Smith's side

Coming off the back of successive defeats to Chorley and King's Lynn Town without scoring, Smith and his staff had made the ballsy decision in midweek to release the popular, creative influence of Kris Taylor as they looked for a more steely approach to their play. In had come Barrow midfielder Jamie Crowther on a month's loan from the big-spending Holker Street side, with the 22-year-old making an immediate debut in another much-changed side; Francino Francis was ruled out with injury once again, meaning a return to the side for veteran centre back Chris Westwood. Tom Thorley was also dropped from the side, with Paul McCone also returning to action in central defence, meaning a return to the much-maligned three at the back that had failed to shine earlier in the season. Paul Sullivan was also given another chance to impress up front after earning his first start of the season

Boston were last season's form side at home, romping to a large number of wins at York Street, including a 4-0 demolition of the Pitmen back in March. However, the loss of top scorer Ricky Miller amongst others had seen a big change in personnel over the summer months and a loss of their impressive home record - already three home defeats this term to Gainsborough Trinity, North Ferriby United and a 7-2 hammering against Oxford City

Both sides seemed intent on a midfield battle during a quiet opening first fifteen minutes, with new boy Crowther relishing his role as the midfield enforcer. The Pitmen were first to take a shot on goal in the fifteenth minute, as a swift break out from the back saw the ball worked to Danny Glover, who cut inside Scott Garner and fired narrowly over the crossbar with a well-hit shot

James Hurst - still searching for his first goal for the Pitmen - went very close to ending that sequence a minute later, as his powerfully struck shot from twenty-five yards flew inches wide of Paul Farman's near post

With twenty minutes gone, a run down the right-wing from Alex Melbourne saw the midfielder whip in a cross that was headed goalwards by Sullivan. Young defender Stefan Galinski just did enough to deflect Sullivan's header away from his own goal and out for a Hednesford corner kick

The resultant corner was whipped in with pace by Jamey Osborne, finding the head of the impressive Ben Bailey at the far post. The big defender's header failed to test Boston's on-loan keeper Farman, dropping wide of the far post

Osborne, Crowther and Melbourne were having the better of it in midfield, out-muscling the nervy-looking Boston midfield and playing Sullivan and Glover down the flanks in an attempt to stretch the home side around the pitch. A marauding run from Osborne on twenty-six minutes was checked by Danny Meadows, allowing Osborne to lift a free-kick deep into the Boston penalty area. The ball was partially cleared to Glover, whose shot was well wide of the Boston goal

Boston's only real chance of the half fell to David Fallah on thirty-seven minutes, as Meadows' corner kick was glanced into his path by Galinski. The striker failed to take his chance, however, heading over the crossbar from close range

The Pitmen finally opened the scoring with the next attack of the game on thirty-eight minutes, as McCone took advantage of slack Boston defending to put the Pitmen ahead. A corner kick from the left-hand side caused confusion in the Boston ranks, with McCone heading goalwards from close range - Farman did enough to deny the centre back with a fine initial save but could do little to stop McCone picking up the rebound and bundling the ball over the goal line from a couple of yards out

1-0 became 2-0 just before half time, with McCone once again involved as he headed Bailey's long throw into the path of Sullivan on the penalty spot. The young striker kept his composure to take a touch and fire low beyond Farman for his first goal of an injury-hit season

Boston were almost back in the game early in the second half, as a hopeful curling cross from right-back Liam Marrs went close to curling in at the far post as Dan Crane watched the ball across the face of his goal

This was to be arguably Boston's best chance of the half, as the Pitmen dominated both possession and chances in an impressive second-half showing. Sullivan - growing in confidence after his goal - tested the reflexes of Farman two minutes later with a low drive that Farman saved to his left

A lovely piece of skill from Sullivan almost produced a third for the Pitmen on fifty-three minutes, as Crane's long kick was brought down by the striker before he turned and fired just over the crossbar, all in one movement

Sullivan's lack of match sharpness became more obvious as the half wore on, with Tom Peers brought on in his place to add extra impetuous to the attack on sixty-three minutes

Farman may have considered himself lucky to still be on the pitch on sixty-eight minutes, as he rushed out of his penalty area and took out Peers as the youngster attempted to control the ball by the corner flag. The referee decided the tackle only warranted a yellow card and booked the keeper for his over the top challenge

With the Pitmen content to play Boston on the counter-attack, the pace of Peers and Glover caused the stretched Boston back line all sorts of problems as the game entered it's last twenty minutes; a quick breakaway on seventy minutes saw Peers put clean through on goal, but his low shot was saved well by Farman, who had done enough to narrow the angle and put Peers off

With fifteen minutes remaining, Thorley came on in place of Osborne to add solidity to the impressive midfield that had kept Boston at arm's length all afternoon

Thorley came within a matter of inches of adding a third goal to the Pitmen's tally with eleven minutes remaining, as Hurst's low cross from the right was met by Thorley at the far post, but the ball was just too far in front of the substitute who toe-poked the ball wide

The biggest cheer of the afternoon came with two minutes remaining, as Diggin made his long-overdue debut for the club after being injured for the first ten games of the campaign, coming on in place of Glover

It was nearly a dream start for Diggin, as he went close with his very first touch with a scuffed effort at the far post that Farman did well to turn away from goal

An excellent afternoon all round for the Pitmen, then, with plenty to be positive about for anyone of a Hednesford persuasion - a superb defensive display, an encouraging debut from Crowther and a late cameo from the much-vaunted Diggin. With a home triple header starting with Colwyn Bay on Tuesday night, there is plenty of opportunities to pick up a haul of points to put the Pitmen back in contention after a difficult first two months of the season

Boston United: Farman , Marrs, Steer, Dowie, Garner, Galinski, Hollingsworth (Marshall 51), Fallah (Dixon 51), Southwell, Robinson, Meadows (Doran 65)       Subs Unused: Tempest, Felix


Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion ©, Bailey, McCone, Westwood, Osborne (Thorley 76), Crowther, Glover (Diggin 89), Sullivan (Peers 65), Melbourne      Subs Unused: Robinson, Ashmore

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