BOSTON TOWN 1 BOSTON UNITED 6: Southwell and Doughty shine as Pilgrims defeat Poachers

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Even Mystic Meg wouldn’t be bold enough to start making predictions after the first pre-season friendly of the year.

Ready to start placing your bets on July 11? Not even the world’s daftest gambler would think that’s worth a punt.

But as Boston Town and Boston United reported for duty at the DWB Stadium this afternoon, both sets of supporters were at least offered some reminders of the positives their clubs can offer.

Dayle Southwell’s first-half hat-trick for the Pilgrims, who ran out 6-1 victors, proved that the striker still has that ruthless streak and an eye for a clever finish, despite not being close to match fitness following his summertime hernia operation.

Meanwhile, the Poachers were reminded that, despite shipping six goals against their higher-league opponents, goalkeeper James Doughty has all the skills to help grind out future victories for the blue side of Boston.

Doughty picked the ball out of his net more times than he deserved, spent half the second half screaming at his defence and yet still walked off the turf undoubtedly the game’s best player.

An when his defence use their warm-up schedule to rediscover their top form, new Town manager Mark Angel knows he will have a back five which won’t leave him having to discuss many, if any, more six-goal defeats this term.

But today, United’s superiority - plus the fact Town have held just twoa training sessions so far - showed as early as the fourth minute.

Southwell found space in the penalty area to beat Doughty from a tight angle and find the net, despite Nick Jackson’s best efforts.

Trialist Jay Rollins doubled the lead in the 10th minute as he burst through on goal and cleverly finished with a stab of his laces.

It was game over as early as the 12th minute as Kaine Felix smashed home a low effort from inside the penalty area.

Felix and Jake Sheridan played their part in Southwell’s second, the striker collecting the ball with his back to goal and firing home on the swivel on the half-hour mark.

And seconds before the interval whistle he had completed his treble with a close-range header.

But just as the first 45 belonged to Southwell, Doughty made the second half his own.

His presence forced Harry Limb to fire wide before blocking bravely from trialist Dymon Labonne.

Limb - a 15-year-old youth team product - appears to be a name to remember for the future, showing some clever touches and a fearless streak which is often so rare in a footballer more than two years away from his first legal pint.

Doughty frustrated Labonne again with a top reaction stop before former Pilgrim Aaron Eyett headed home a 62nd-minute consolation.

Doughty then went from good to great with a series of superb stops, pushing away Jamie McGhee’s volley and - at full stretch - fingertipping Kyle Dixon’s dipper over the bar.

There was little he could do about Sheridan’s miscued cross which hit his crossbar, or Scott Garner’s powerful 72nd-minute header, but he still had time to cap off his performance by again frustrating Dixon with a brave block.

The historic bad blood between Boston’s two teams is by no means close to the levels it once was, their rivalry reduced to occasional friendly matches these days.

And with eight members of Town’s squad, plus their manager, having pulled on a United shirt of some sorts in the past, this contest was never going to be a full-throttle contest filled with menace.

Still, we were entertained by seven goals. Had it not been for Doughty, we would have seen plenty more.

UNITED (from): Urwin, Dear, Garner, Mills, Marrs, Felix, Dixon, Roberts, Rollins, Southwell, Sheridan, McGhee, Saebe, Limb, Labonne, Brown.

TOWN (from): Doughty, Lambley, Jackson, Wood, Ashton, Borbely, Placis Kennedy, Eyett , Parker, Clare, Orrey.

Ref: Alistair Wilson.