BOSTON UNITED 1 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0: Mills header ends year on a high

Lewis Hilliard.
Lewis Hilliard.

Boston United moved up to fourth in the National League North after getting their derby day revenge against Gainsborough Trinity.

Zak Mills headed the Pilgrims into a 45th-minute lead as he met Lewis Hilliard’s free kick in the six yard box, and that was enough to settle the contest as the Pilgrims ended 2015 in the play-off spots.

This was hardly a vintage Pilgrims display - and too many chances were wasted - but following two defeats to Trinity this seasons, and not forgetting the weekend’s horror show at Lowestoft, getting three points on the board was the main objective.

Following Saturday’s lacklustre 3-0 defeat at Lowestoft Town, Dennis Greene - still without the injured Dayle Southwell, Richard Jones and Dylan McEvoy - changed his formation from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3, with Johns Sands coming into the starting XI and flanked by Jay Rollins and Kaine Felix.

Hilliard also took his place on the pitch as Ryan Robbins and Mark Jones dropped to the bench.

The first half wasn’t played in the full-blooded manner normally associated with a derby clash, but both sides created chances.

For United Scott Garner flashed a header wide after meeting Mills’ free kick and John Sands’ strike was cleared off the line by Josh Lacey.

Hilliard then saw a low strike smothered by Jan Budtz.

For Trinity, Pilgrims old boy Marc Newsham looked set to pull the trigger but was thwarted by a last-ditch cover tackle from Grant Roberts.

Nathan Jarman also conjured up a moment of magic, collecting the ball on his chest and hitting a volley on the turn which bent inches wide of Henrich Ravas’ post.

It was Jarman who was adjudged to have handled Felix’s cross on the edge of the penalty which led to Mills - moving out to his favoured right back role as Garner moved back into central defence - putting United ahead on the stroke of half time.

From the re-start United went on the attack, Carl Piergianni somehow heading wide when well placed, Hilliard seeing two efforts blocked and Mills lashing a left footer high into the Town End.

Sands really should have opened his account for the club when he met Felix’s cutback in a central position, only to force his strike over the bar.

In response, Jarman found space at the back post but sliced his effort off target while Simon Russell’s lashed effort spun away from goal and landed close to the corner flag.

Rollins came within a whisker of doubling the hosts’ advantage with a dipping 20-yard volley which beat Budtz but also the far post.

UNITED: Ravas, Mills, Garner, Piergianni, Marrs, Hilliard, Richards, Roberts, Felix (Johnson 89), Sands (Robbins 87), Rollins (M. Jones 68); Subs (not used): Limb, Alexander.

TRINITY: Budtz, Lacey, Roma, Picton, Brogan, Russell, Binns (Davis 61), D’Laryea, Drury (Yates HT), Newsham (Stamp 89), Jarman; Subs (not used): Karkach, Hedge.

Ref: Josh Smith.

Att: 1,889 (86).