Barrow 4 Boston United 4: Magic Miller hits a hat-trick to complete late fightback

Ricky Miller.
Ricky Miller.

Ricky Miller grabbed a hat-trick as Boston United came from behind to snatch a thrilling last-gasp 4-4 draw at Barrow.

This was football as its craziest. The Pilgrims were dead and buried at 4-2 down, or so it seemed, with a minute remaining.

But a refusal to give up, and a late penalty, somehow saw United leave Holker Street with a point.

The Pilgrims made one change from the side which importantly - but uninspiringly - edged past Oxford City 2-1 last weekend.

Captain Ian Ross returned to the starting XI in the place of Ben Fairclough as United reverted back to a 4-4-2 formation in a bid to end their poor recent away form, which had seen them record a solitary victory and one draw from their past eight matches away from York Street.

That midfield four took on a diamond shape with Ross the anchor and Jamie McGhee given the licence to attack. Jay Dowie and Liam Agnew lined up in the middle.

Rene Steer was unavailable due to suspension and that meant Junior Konadu - the left back’s fellow Londoner and travelling partner - was unable to make it to the match, instead handed the afternoon off.

The Bluebirds came close to opening the scoring just seconds into the contest when Tom Corner made the most of Carl Piergianni’s slip, but his low effort was denied by the legs of Lewis King.

And Boston capitalised in the eighth minute when Miller gave the home side the lead.

Latching on to McGhee’s clever pass, the striker took one touch before slotting beyond Tony McMillan with confidence.

Miller - whose finish saw him join Marc Newsham as Pilgrims’ leading scorer on 21 goals - netted the only goal of the game as Boston beat Barrow 1-0 in the reverse fixture.

But it wasn’t going to be a repeat of that scoreline.

King had already used his hands, and his legs again, to twice deny Gareth Arnison before Barrow’s Boston-born defender Duran Reynolds made the most of sloppy marking to power home his 22nd-minute header, following Sam Sheridan’s corner.

Back came Boston and Newsham earned himself space to shoot in the home side’s penalty area, only to see his strike hit the side netting.

But it was Barrow who went in at the interval in front as Arnison ensured it was third time lucky. Sloppy marking gave the big forward space to power home a low angled drive beyond the exposed King just a matter of seconds before the half-time whistle blew.

After the-re-start Ross saw his 20-yarder saved by McMillan before Arnison put the Bluebirds 3-1 up.

Latching on to a through ball he stretched and toe-poked his effort beyond the onrushing King to give the hosts a cushion.

But that lead didn’t last long as Pilgrims sub Ben Milnes rifled home the goal of the game on 61 minutes.

Twenty yards from goal, and on his weaker left foot, he drilled an effort high into McMillan’s goal, bringing some hope back to Boston.

That hope lasted until the 80th minute when Barrow’s Niall Cowperthwaite burst into the box and smashed a drive beyond the helpless King... or so it seemed.

The tremendous Miller salvaged a point with two goals in a minute, taking his season’s tally to 23.

In the 90th minute he latched on to Spencer Weir-Daley’ pass and smashed home his 22nd of the season from close range.

And there was more to come in controversial fashion in stoppage time when Miller was upended by Paul Edwards.

Barrow’s defenders throught Milnes had handled in the build-up and as they remonstrated United played on, with Miller being blatantly tripped.

It was a harsh lesson in playing to the whistle which Barrow learned the hard way, but Miller didn’t care one bit as he rifled home his spot kick to complete his third hat-trick of the season.

Football. It’s just bonkers.

BARROW: McMillan, Burns, Reynolds, Willis, Edwards, Cribley (Harvey 77), Sheridan (Davies 74), Lacey, Cowperthwaite, Corner, Arnison (Parkinson 84); Subs (not used): Rushton, Marsh.

UNITED: King, Marshall, Garner, Piergianni, Ferguson, Ross (Weir-Daley 62), Dowie (Milnes HT), McGhee, Agnew, Newsham (Galinski 68), Miller; Subs (not used): Subs: Fairclough, Aujla.

Ref: P. Wright.

Att: 808.