BOSTON UNITED 0 ALTRINCHAM 1: Toothless Pilgrims slump to defeat to basement boys

Jay Rollins.
Jay Rollins.

Boston United’s home form hit a new low for the campaign as the Pilgrims were beaten 1-0 by basement boys Altrincham.

Prior to kick off the Robins had won just twice all season - once on the road at fellow relegation-threatened Stalybridge Celtic - and had picked up just one point from their past five matches away from Moss Lane.

But come full time they had won at the Jakemans Stadium on a Saturday afternoon more times than their hosts this season.

Adam Murray had previously talked about his young side needing to meet the expectations of the York Street crowd.

But it was the same old story for the hosts: a strong start, missed chances and a goal conceded the first time their opponents looked to threaten.

From then on the performance was off the pace and, despite Altrincham mustering just one more attempt at goal, and that was hopeful at best, Boston barely looked like pulling themselves level.

Elliott Newby’s 32nd-minute finish proved the difference in a game where United lost skipper Adam Chapman to injury and Josh Robinson completed the match up front nursing a hamstring injury.

Murray stuck with the starting XI which recorded a goalless draw at FC Halifax Town the previous week and, buoyed by that point against the promotion chasers, the Pilgrims began high on confidence.

With less than three minutes on the clock Altrincham keeper Stuart Tomlinson - back in the game following a stint in professional wrestling - used his giant frame to block Lewis Hilliard’s drive, the midfielder slipped in by Ben Gordon’s clever pass.

Harry Vince then came within a whisker of marking his first home start with a goal as he met Jan Yeomans’ cutback, his effort striking the inside of the Robins’ post before being cleared.

United lost skipper Adam Chapman to injury in the 27th minute, replaced by Shane Clarke.

But that didn’t appear to disrupt the hosts as Hilliard saw his strike on the turn stray inches wide of Tomlinson’s far post.

Boston, however, have a habit of showing a weakness and allowing themselves to be hit by a sucker punch.

This time Newby was afforded far too much freedom to roam in the Pilgrims’ half, collecting the ball and slotting beyond Ross Durrant to open the scoring.

And it could have been worse as James Lawrie prodded home following a scramble, only for an offside flag to spare Boston’s blushes.

The second half was slow to get into gear, Durrant having no problem holding onto Nicky Clee’s speculative hit from 25 yards, the player’s next involvement was being booked in the away dug-out for taking his time getting off the pitch when being replaced by Andy Owens.

Tomlinson continued to frustrate the Pilgrims, denying Clarke from close range with an outstretched leg before holding onto Colby Bishop’s header and beating the striker to a bobbling ball.

In stoppage time that golden opportunity finally arrived, but after Tomlinson denied Alex Simmons, Jay Rollins’ follow-up from close range was placed straight at the keeper.

Last chance wasted.

BUFC: Durrant, Thomas, Yeomans, Vince Rollins 68), Batchelor, Robinson, Chapman (Clarke 25), Gordon (Marshall 57), Simmons, Bishop, Hilliard; Subs (not used): Fitzpatrick, Gatter.

ALTRINCHAM: Tomlinson, Lynch, McWilliams, Taylor (Goodall 84), Hathcote, Cyrus, Newby, G. Jones, Richman (Patterson 90), Lawrie, Clee (Owens 59); Subs (not used): Reeves, A. Jones.

Ref: Alan Dale.

Att: 1,026 (29).