Boston United 1 Colwyn Bay 0: Jones strike settles it

Local sport from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk/sport, on Twitter @standardduncan
Local sport from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk/sport, on Twitter @standardduncan

Mark Jones’ first-half finish was enough to earn Boston United their first victory of 2013.

In a week where rivals Gainsborough Trinity have made a seven-day approach for the in-demand forward, Jones proved that the Pilgrims were still very much his side.

It was a simple finish, with an open goal to aim at, but they all count... and it was his 14th of the campaign.

It was also vital to United’s hopes of turning around their fortunes, after failing to win in their last three matches.

There was a mixture of joy and sadness prior to kick off at York Street.

Spencer Weir-Daley received the adulation of the home support as he was presented with a trophy to commemorate his 50 goals for the club.

And there were warm welcomes for assistant boss Paul Holden, watching the Pilgrims for the first time following his heart attack on Christmas Day.

Then the mood changed to sadness as a minute’s applause was held for Callum Pite, a 14-year-old Boston United Community Club player who tragically lost his battle against cancer over Christmas.

On the pitch, the contest took a while to get going as the Seagulls - sitting just above the Blue Square Bet North relegation zone - and Boston - with one win in five matches - sized each other up.

Jones, who replaced the injured Ben Fairclough (hamstring), saw a shot from distance land well off the mark early on, while Gareth Jelleyman’s back-post volley took a wicked deflection wide.

United’s other change saw new signing Anton Foster in for Nathan Stainfield, who was ruled out with sickness and diarrhoea.

For the Bay, Gareth Evans saw his strike comfortably stopped by Boston’s Dan Haystead, their first and only real effort of the opening 45 minutes.

However, it was Boston who made the breakthrough in the 31st minute with a superb team goal.

Ben Milnes chested the ball into the path of Weir-Daley, whose strike was parried by Chris Sanna.

However, Mark Jones was there to guide home his 14th of the season, with the goal at his mercy.

Moments later and that lead was almost doubled as Milnes slipped Weir-Daley through, but again Sanna frustrated him.

On the stroke of half time, Marc Newsham was guilty of firing over with the goal at his mercy.

It should have been 2-0, but instead the club’s top scorer had his head in his hands.

With Sanna grounded, Jelleyman teed up Newsham 12 yards from goal.

But as the Colwyn defenders rushed back to their goal line, Newsham blazed high of the goal.

After the interval, United failed to pick up where they left off.

In fact, the first 25 minutes after the break were a subdued affair, with the Pilgrims spending too much time repelling the Seagulls’ long balls into the penalty area.

United almost got that cushion in the 83rd minute, when Jones cleverly controlled Ian Ross’ clever through ball.

However, he dragged his strike wide.

Robbie Williams’ back pass then left Sanna red faced as it slipped under his boot.

But as the keeper chased back he was spared as the ball hit the post.

And that was how it stayed as Boston held on for their first victory of 2013 and first clean sheet under Graham Drury.

UNITED: Haystead, Silk, Jelleyman, Foster (Nuttell 90), Ward, Watt, Ross, Newham, Jones, Weir-Daley (J. Smith 72), Milnes (Reed 68); Subs (not used): Sanders, Drury.

BAY: Sanna, Taylor, Lea, Sinclair, R. Williams, S. Williams, Evans (Roberts 83), McKenna, Hopley, Byrne (Berkeley HT), Holden (Meadowcroft 55); Subs (not used): Hogan, Breeze.

Att: 887.

Ref: Lee Betts.