COLUMN: ‘Please, no more injury time disasters’

Action from Bostuni United versus Hednesford Town. Picture by Eric Ford
Action from Bostuni United versus Hednesford Town. Picture by Eric Ford

Enough is enough, please no more injury time ‘disasters’ says columnist Pete Brooksbank, after United’s loss at Hednesford.

So, it happened again.

With that horrible moment against Chorley still nagging away like a horrible drunken memory – yes, still - Boston United went and did it again, conceding a goal so deep into injury time that many fans were already at home watching Wayne Rooney slicing through San Marino’s hapless defence like a blunt knife through brick.

I wish I could have joined them.

But no. Instead, I was again subjected to the dismal sight of Boston being floored by a goal that, by my reckoning, arrived with a little over two seconds left to play. Two seconds. Some people take longer to blink than that.

In complete contrast to Adam Roscoe’s overhead kick, it was a truly wretched goal; the direct result of a botched counter-attack and subsequent counter-counter attack that ended with Tyrone Williams’ scruffy shot half-heartedly dribbling past Jason Alexander. If you’re a Dortmund fan or a tactics geek, I guess you’d hail it a successful turnover, or a transition, or whatever they’re called. Either way, after another long afternoon, Boston were beaten at the buzzer – again.

What a rubbish way to lose a game.

The Pilgrims sank to their knees as Williams wheeled off to celebrate. I didn’t see what Dennis Greene did, but if he didn’t boot a water bottle into the car park I’d be amazed. I actually laughed: laughed at the ridiculous inevitability of it all. Meanwhile, my companion, in a moment of explosive out-of-character rage, drove his fist into the back of the stand – right into a fragment of jagged metal.

The Hednesford old boys in front of us - the ones who’d sullied their own minute’s silence - turned to jeer us out the ground. We drove home in sullen silence, him mopping up blood from his wound, me firing off annoyed messages to friends – mainly Forest fans who have become so immune to disappointment they don’t care about mine.

Still, it’s cathartic to vent.

Seeing your team lose a game like that is not something you’re ever likely to get used to – especially not so soon after the horror of the play-offs.

What made it worse was the carelessness of it all. If Roscoe’s implausible RudeTube moment felt like a freakish aberration - a once-in-a-generation slice of outrageous misfortune - this was something else entirely. It smacked of naivety. Or, worse than that, arrogance.

Having gone two goals down, Boston looked on the verge of falling apart. It could have been four, or five. But with just over an hour gone, two goals arrived from nowhere and United looked like they were about to somehow pilfer a point. And the goals really did arrive from nothing – the first arriving moments after a corner routine so comically feeble it left Boston fans either snorting tea through their noses or inventing new swear words, depending how seriously they take their football.

After Piergianni’s thumping second, you might argue that Boston were well within their rights to press for a winner. As it happens, most Pilgrims fans were content for the team to park their luxury Sleafordian and claim a point they didn’t really deserve.

But then Boston got greedy. Football’s fate gods were not amused.

In pressing for an entirely undeserved winner so late in the game, especially having played so poorly for ninety minutes, United ended up drop-kicking their lucky point right into the gift horse’s mouth, then reversing over the vet.

All this from a team that was supposed to have matured into a side capable of contending for the title, not just the play-offs.

Instead, there is a sense of regression. How else can you describe it? Against Hednesford, Boston were mostly terrible, their star performers left looking oddly inert and frustrated in a way they never were last season.

Carl Piergianni’s irritation boiled over into what could easily have been a red card, albeit a highly amusing one, and the normally lethal Dayle Southwell was a largely anonymous spectator, through no fault of his own.

Clearly, Boston are a team out of sorts, playing with the kind of consistent inconsistency that makes it nearly impossible to predict what the next few months will hold. Perhaps this is still a club one good signing away from reaching last season’s heights. Or maybe it’s a couple of injuries away from becoming mediocre mid-table fluff. Who knows?

Does Dennis Greene? Judging by his strident post-match thoughts, in which he claimed United had ‘mismanaged’ the game, he’s as annoyed as the rest of us.

Greene’s reassuring post-match honesty at least demonstrates he’s not trying to shift the blame or insult the fans’ intelligence by attributing the defeat to sheer bad luck, or food poisoning, or the Illuminati. Plenty of other managers would.

His annoyance will stem from the fact that, on-going left-back issues notwithstanding, Boston should be better than this. They ARE better than this, which is precisely what made the winner so infuriating.

Is this still a title challenge? Mathematically, yes. But realistically, and as disheartening as it seems, we’ve probably seen enough already to know that the Pilgrims won’t be competing for first place, and are instead playing for a spot of play-off bingo once more. Marvellous.

Still, I’m normally wrong about football, and I’d be delighted if Boston prove me wrong again. Just, please: no more injury time disasters.