BOSTON UNITED 3 BPA 0: Worth the wait! Piergianni double secures victory

Carl Piergianni.
Carl Piergianni.

You wait five months for a Carl Piergianni goal... and then two come along at once.

The Pilgrims defender - who scored his last goal for the club before today in the 3-3 draw against Harrogate on November 10 - made a timely return to the scoresheet with two carbon copy finishes against a Bradford Park Avenue team forced to start striker Liam Dickinson in goal.

On both occasions Piergianni rose highest to meet a Zak Mills long throw, ensuring Boston ended the day fifth in the National League North.

Dayle Southwell added his 21st goal of the season with a Poachers’ finish to make sure of the points.

There was a look of disbelief when the team sheets were handed in as the on-loan Guiseley striker was listed between the sticks.

With regular keeper Jon Stewart injured his two stand-ins were both unavailable, Ryan Jones - who recently signed dual forms - was away on holiday and goalkeeping coach Matty Wright was working away.

And despite Dickinson pulling off some good saves, there was little he could do to improve his side’s record of four points from seven away games before kick off.

Boston were by no means displaying top home form with just one point from their previous four contests at the Jakemans Stadium, but they did have the luxury of starting Piergianni, Southwell, Mills, Scott Garner and Kaine Felix together for just the fifth time this campaign.

And the omens were good as those four previous matches all reaped three points.

Dennis Greene kept faith with the starting XI which left FC United with a 2-1 victory last Saturday, but had the luxury of adding the returning Dylan McEvoy and Mark Jones to his substitutes.

Bradford created the first chance of the match early on, but Luke Woodland failed to make the most of a two-on-one opportunity and his deflected effort was comfortably gathered by Fabian Spiess.

Avenue’s Simon Ainge was in the right place to hack Southwell’s goalbound effort off the line in the eighth minute after Dickinson had flapped at - and missed - Mills’ cross.

With just 12 minutes on the clock United’s injury woes struck yet again with Joe Burgess limping out of the game with an ankle injury.

However, the club had the perfect replacement in McEvoy, the on-loan Sunderland youngster back from his four-match absence.

The pace of Felix created United’s next opportunity, although Conner Robinson could only slice the winger’s cutback over the Bradford bar.

And when the favour was returned, Felix rushed his effort wide.

Dickinson’s first test saw him unconventionally claw away Piergianni’s header from a Mills throw, but immediately after the same combination gave the hosts a 31st minute lead.

The half, however, ended with the away side on top.

Spiess did well to halt Chib Chilaka’s effort with an oustretched leg, while the same player saw a hopeful effort from distance calmly collected.

Woodland should have done better when granted far too much space at the back post.

The second half began as the first ended, Spiess using his body to block a Chilaka effort.

But in the 53rd minute the contest looked to be beyond Bradford as Piergianni doubled the advantage, meeting Mill’s deliveray and seeing his looping effort sneak in at Dickinson’s far post.

Dickinson had to be alert once again as he tipped a looping Felix effort over his crossbar, but there was little he could do for Southwell’s 66th-minute finish.

McEvoy’s corner was nodded down by Scott Garner, Southwell guiding the ball into the net from close range.

Woodland was granted another chance to reduce the arrears as United switched off, but he smashed his effort high into the Town End.

Avenue fought valiantly, particularly the fish-out-of-water Dickinson, but the day belonged to United, and Piergianni in particular, as Bradford became the fifth side to suffer home and away defeats at the hands of Greene’s side this season.

UNITED: Spiess, Mills, Brown, Piergianni, Burgess, Garner, Roberts, Hilliard, Felix (Johnson 75), Southwell, Robinson (M. Jones 61); Subs (not used): Limb, Payne.

BPA: Dickinson, Qualter, Ainge, Wilkinson, Patterson, King, Woodland, Thornton (St Juste 43), Mottley-Henry (Webb-Foster 70), Chilaka, Colley (Chippendale HT); Subs (not used): Gordon, Mather.

Ref: Neil Hair.

Att: 1,370 (37).