BOSTON UNITED 2 BARROW 1: Eight in a row for victorious Pilgrims

Rene Steer.
Rene Steer.

Boston United bashed the bookies and kept their opening-day win run going in the process.

Barrow arrived at York Street favourites for the Vanarama North title, but it was the Pilgrims who finished the day with all three points, thanks to a wonderful strike from Rene Steer and a debut goal for Chris Dickinson.

It was often tense, and for long periods it was a case of backs to the wall from the home side.

However, when the full-time whistle blew, Dennis Greene’s side proved they may well be far from one-season wonders.

And for chairman David Newton - the man who had already earned a massive triumph in midweek with his planning application for a new stadium - the record continues as Boston have now won all eight of their opening-day games since he took charge of the club.

Just hours before kick off the Pilgrims announced that they had made two additions to the squad, with former York City striker Dickinson and midfielder Niall Doran, who was previously on the books of Hull City, joining the club.

Target man Dickinson was handed his first start in attack alongside Dayle Southwell, while Doran took his place on the bench.

United - without the injured Jay Dowie and Marc Newsham, plus the suspended Kaine Felix - lined up in a 3-5-2 formation.

Sam Vince took his place in goal with fellow keeper Matt Gledhill yet to receive international clearance following his switch from Cork City, with Carl Piergianni, Scott Garner and Duran Reynolds - who joined from Barrow in the summer - forming the protection in front of the teenager.

It was Reynolds who conjured up the first real opportunity of the game as his 25 yard strike had swerve, but not enough of the stuff to beat Tony McMillan in the Bluebirds’ goal.

But if anything, that strike only encouraged Barrow to up their game.

Izak Reid couldn’t direct his effort in the right direction when offered an open goal, albeit from the tightest of angles and Garner denied Jason Walker a free header on goal by glancing away Reid’s cross, after the former Brackley man capitalised on Piergianni’s misjudgement in the penalty area.

The Pilgrims received a huge let-off seconds later when Andy Cook’s header looped over Vince but bounced away from danger off the top of the crossbar.

United, who had seen Piergianni’s header comfortably held by McMillan, tried their luck from distance again, but Conor Marshall’s blockbuster had everything except enough curl to hit the target.

Then came a tale of two headers. Firstly, Cook nodded the ball into the Pilgrims’ net but an offside flag ensured the effort did not stand.

Secondly, Alex-Ray Harvey’s powerful drive looked certain to hand Barrow the lead, until Piergianni bravely stuck his head in the way and diverted danger.

With 43 minutes on the clock the Pilgrims made the breakthrough.

Zak Mills’ cross-field pass dissected the midfield and gave Steer the space to charge at goal before unleashing a powerful 25-yard drive which, with the help of a significant-enough deflection, beat the Bluebirds’ stopper.

It was the left back’s 31st appearance for Boston and his first goal.

Jamie McGhee had a superb first-half for the Pilgrims in midfield, causing danger in attack with his tricky runs and never afraid to sprint back and support the defence.

And that form continued into the second half when a mazy dribble saw him earn a shooting opportunity which McMillan had to punch away.

But there was little the Barroww stopper could do to deny Dickinson a debut goal in the 53rd minute.

Latching onto Southwell’s punted through ball he kept his cool to slot low beyond McMillan’s outstretched leg.

Barrow’s reply was instant. Just three minutes later Cook met Niall Cowperthwaite’s through ball and slammed his near-post drive beyond the helpless Vince.

The game seemed to die a death from that point as Boston tightened things up at the back and Barrow struggled to create many openings.

That changed in the 86th minut when Robbie Williams connected with a corner, but yet again the Bluebirds saw a header crash against the crossbar.

That was followed by a vital save from Vince who palmed Sam Sheridan’s goalbound strike over his bar and away from danger.

UNITED: Vince, Mills, Steer, Marshall, Garner, Piergianni, Reynolds (Meadows HT), Hollingsworth, Southwell (Galinski 78), Dickinson, McGhee; Subs (not used): Barlow, Doran, Hewitt.

BARROW: McMillan, Burns (Wilson 77), Cowperthwaite, Livesey, Williams, Grand, Harvey (Sheridan 70), Crowther, Walker, Cook, Reid (Ellison 61); Subs (not used): Cribley, Willis.

Ref: Marvyn Amphlett.

Att: 1,311 (172).