The one that got away? Former Boston United trialist Ed Wilczynski returned to haunt the Pilgrims as Darlington 1883 left the Jakemans Stadium with three points.
The keeper trained with Boston in pre-season but was told there was no place for him in the squad after the signing of Christian Dibble.
But today the Quakers keeper showed United exactly what they could have had with a string of saves which ensured his squad held on for victory.
Nathan Cartman and David Syers had given 1883 a 2-0 interval lead as United failed to get going.
But a spirited second half from the hosts saw Karl Hawley reduce the arrears before a number of vital blocks from Wilczynski.
Adam Murray opted to stick with the starting XI which toppled Chorley in midweek, new signing Colby Bishop named on the bench in the place of Nat Brown, who has joined Hednesford Town on loan.
With the Darlington defence pressing high Boston enjoyed some fortune with long balls over the top early on, but the closest they came to opening the scoring came from Hawley’s miscued strike which bobbled wide of Wilczynski’s goal.
Darlington took the lead in the 14th minute when Gary Brown’s long throw was allowed to bounce in the United penalty area, Cartman gratefully guiding the ball into the net from close range.
That lead was almost doubled when Mark Beck met ex-Pilgrim David Ferguson’s corner, but a fine reaction save from Ross Durrant pounded the ball away.
A spell of Pilgrims pressure saw Josh Robinson’s flicked header held comfortably by Wilczynski and a Hawley strike blocked on its way to goal.
But in the 44th minute Syers ensured 1883 were going into the break in front, beating Durrant at his near post with awell executed volley on the swivel.
It could have been three after the break but as Stephen Thompson’s free kick fizzed across the face of goal it evaded three lunges from teammates.
Hawley made things interesting with his first goal for the club in the 63rd minute, collecting the knock down of debutant Colby Bishop, who replaced Lewis Hilliard, he powered home on the turn.
Seconds later and the hosts could have been level as Alex Simmons chased down on goal, but Wilczynski blocked the strike, denying the same player soon afterwards from a free kick.
The Darlington keeper was in the thick of the action again as he used his legs to block Jay Rollins’ side-footer, Simmons bending the follow-up wide.
At the other end, Durrant scooped up Thompson’s powerful drive at the second attempt.
As United pushed for a leveller their claims for a penalty were turned down by referee Martyn Rawcliffe, despite Bishop appearing to be chopped in the box.
UNITED: Durrant, Gatter (Thomas 53), Robinson, Batchelor, Yeomans, Clarke, Chapman, Hilliard (Bishop 53), Simmons, Hawley, Rollins; Subs (not used): Gordon, Fitzpatrick, Chippendale.
DARLINGTON: Wilczynski, Falkingham, Ferguson, Turnbull (Galbraith 80), Burgess, Brown, Syers, Scott, Beck, Cartman (Hardy 70), Thompson (Gillies 90); Subs (not used): Blackford, Bell.
Ref: Martyn Rawcliffe.
Att: 1,243 (234).