BOSTON UNITED 2 CURZON ASHTON 1: Southwell penalty double sinks nine-man Nash

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Dayle Southwell scored a brace as Boston United put their stuttering start behind them to beat Curzon Ashton 2-1.

The Pilgrims’ start to the season has been far from perfect, but their talismanic goalscorer has remained their one constant from the previous campaign.

And this afternoon Southwell converted two first-half penalties to take his personal tally to four goals in three matches.

After finding themselves a goal down in less than two minutes, Boston battled back to claim their first three points of the campaign at the expense of the Nash, who were reduced to nine men before half time after two costly moments of indiscipline.

Alex Frost and Jonathan Hunt both saw red for needless fouls, both of which led to penalties that United converted, while Boston also finished the game a man down.

The two sides arrived at the Jakemans Stadium looking to kick their early season habits.

After two defeats, the Pilgrims were desperate to get their first win of the National League North campaign, while Ashton were also craving their first three points.

However, after draws with Corby Town and AFC Telford United, the league newcomers at least began the day with points on the board.

But come full time the hosts had overtaken them in the standings.

Jamie McGhee took his place in the Boston starting line-up at the expense of Kaine Felix, ruled out with an ankle injury picked up against Solihull Moors in midweek.

He was the only change to the starting XI after 18-year-old keeper Jason Alexander retained the number one shirt despite the return of Henrich Ravas from duty with the Slovakian under 19 side.

However, Dennis Greene re-arranged his personnel on the pitch, with Liam Marrs lining up alongside Carl Piergianni in the heart of defence and Grant Roberts returning to right back, allowing Scott Garner to add some bite in midfield.

It took just 93 seconds for the Nash to open the scoring, finishing low under Alexander from close range after a sweeping move cut through the United defence.

As Boston looked to get back on level terms Jay Rollins brought a good save from Hakan Burton as he latched onto McGhee’s 40-yard cross-field pass and cut inside.

Parity was restored in the 25th minute as Southwell beat Burton as he swept home from 12 yards.

Referee Tom Bramall pointed to the spot after the Ashton keeper parried Southwell’s initial strike and, as Mark Jones looked to slot home the rebound into an empty net, he was felled by Frost, the defender receiving his marching orders.

Garner almost stabbed Boston ahead as he met Jamie McGhee’s low cross, but the Pilgrims did take the lead in the 42nd minute from an second penalty.

Southwell sent Burton the wrong way after referee’s assistant Dean Appleby spotted an off-the-ball stamp on Garner from Jonathan Hunt, who also saw red.

The numerical disadvantage visibly took its toll on the away side after the break, as the action became a procession of Pilgrims lining up to take pot shots at the line of blue camped on the Nash’s 18-yard box.

Burton had to be at his best to deny Jones twice in the opening exchanges after the re-start, holding onto a header and getting down well to parry a low drive, while Kyle Dixon saw a curler drift inches wide.

But as the half drew on the lack of attacking threat from Curzon saw a mixture of sloppiness and greediness creep into United’s game and those chances arrived with less regularity.

McGhee did manage to cut inside and fire over the bar on two occasions while the impressive Burton smothered Cameron Johnson’s one-on-one effort and denied Southwell his hat-trick following a near-post volley.

Rollins’ finish was flagged offside after he forced home the loose ball after Jack Friend had hit the bar.

And in stoppage time Boston were down to 10 men as Piergianni picked up a second booking, ruling him out of the clash at Gainsborough Trinity.

UNITED: Alexander, Marrs, Garner, Piergianni, Deen-Conteh; McGhee, Dixon, Roberts, Rollins, Southwell (Friend 84), Jones (Johnson 70); Subs (not used): Sheridan, Deacey, Ravas.

CURZON: Burton, Frost, Hunt, Shaw, Grayson, Lakeland, Tomsett, Brooke, Brown, Warburton (Cummins HT), Burnett (Rowney 61); Subs (not used): Wright, Atkinson, Mason.

Att: 1,040 (39).

Ref: Tom Bramall.