BOSTON UNITED 0 STOCKPORT COUNTY 2: Lloyd double serves up Murray’s first Pilgrims defeat

Nat Brown.
Nat Brown.

That’s what it feels like. Boston United suffered their first defeat of the Adam Murray era as Stockport County left the Jakemans Stadium with a 2-0 victory.

Danny Lloyd’s double proved the difference as the Pilgrims, who ended the contest with 10 men following Josh Robinson’s red card, failed to turn pressure into chances.

For the Hatters, was their first non-league win at the Jakemans Stadium, and deserved because, if nothing more, they at least made the opposition keeper work throughout the 90 minutes.

With Gregg Smith out for the season with a fractured ankle - watching on crutches from the Town End - and Marcus Marshall carrying a knock, Murray handed Shane Clarke his first start of the season, and the captain’s armband, with Callum Chippendale also returning to the starting XI.

Boston began brightly with Jay Rollins getting a shot off despite having his shirt tugged, but from 20 yards his strike lacked the venom to trouble Ben Hinchliffe.

But that was United’s only effort on goal in the first 45 minutes, possession and passing across the Hatters’ penalty area coming to little.

In a half of few chances, Stockport took 29 minutes to trouble Ross Durrant, the Pilgrims stopper blocking Scott Duxbury from a tight angle.

The keeper was then called upon to acrobatically volley Lloyd’s inswinging corner off his goalline, only for the Hatter to get the better of him in the 35th minute.

Looming down on goal, Lloyd’s strike beat Durrant, finding the net via his near post.

Murray decided to go more direct after the break, replacing Charlie Gatter and Lewis Hilliard with Nat Brown and Marshall.

And with the big defender told to play in the target man role up front the whole complexion of Boston’s game changed, those long balls being won with ease by Brown.

But while his presence caused panic in the County backline, doubled with the arrival of the burly battler Waide Fairhurst off the bench, his teammates failed to truly gamble enough and make those runs.

Indeed, Boston’s first real threat in the second period was Joe Fitzpatrick’s 25 yard drive which swerved away from Hinchliffe’s dive.

And two minutes later United were down to 10 men when Josh Robinson picked up his second booking of the day.

Deep into stoppage time Lloyd doubled the advantage.

Pilgrims old boy Kaine Felix burst free and squared for the County man to tap into an open goal.

UNITED: Durrant, Thomas, Robinson, Batchelor, Gordon, Clarke, Gatter (Brown HT)(, Fitzpatrick, Chippendale (Fairhurst 61), Rollins, Hilliard (Marshall HT); Subs (not used): Clappison, Colley.

COUNTY: Hinchliffe, Ross, Duxbury, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley, Minihan, Stopforth, Odejayi (Amis 60), Ball (Felix 88), Lloyd; Subs (not used): Meppen-Walter, Marsden, Ormson.

Att: Att: 1,360 (228).

Ref: Robert Massey-Ellis.