BOSTON UNITED 4 STOCKPORT COUNTY 0: Pilgrims turn on the style against the Hatters

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Boston United brought some early Christmas magic to the Jakemans Stadium with a 4-0 drubbing of Stockport County.

Even Scrooge himself would have been forced to crack a smile as the in-form Pilgrims dominated the Hatters.

Mark Jones marked his return from injury with a superb individual effort while Lewis Hilliard netted just three minutes into his debut.

Keine Felix also scored a fine solo effort and Dayle Southwell bagged his 15th of the campaign from the penalty spot.

It was United’s first home game since November 14, but well worth the wait as Dennis Greene’s side turned on the style.

Jay Rollins returned to the starting line-up following Jordan Blinco’s return to Sunderland, the only change to the side which begun at Solihull Moors two weeks earlier.

County started the contest on the front foot, and had it not been for a wasteful strike from Jonny Margetts, hurredly scooping wide when given time to pick his spot, a deflection to Lewis Montrose’s low drive and Zak Mills’ timely block then they could well have taken an early lead.

But it was Boston who edged ahead in the 19th minute through Kaine Felix. In the Pilgrims’ first attack of note, the winger won an initial header close to the halfway line before outpacing his markers and coolly slotting beyond Andreas Arestidou from a tight angle.

Carl Piergianni, United’s biggest threat from set pieces, was getting some close attention from his former club and should have been awarded a penalty after Kayode Odejayi pulled him back from a free kick.

But on the one occasion the defender got free of his marker, Odejayi stopped the ball with his arm and United had their spot kick.

As Southwell placed the ball, the County gamesmanship began with Arestidou and Sean O’Hanlon standing over the ball and preventing him from taking his penalty.

The striker’s first effort was saved by the legs of the keeper, but Amy Fearn’s whistle blew for encroachment and the forward found the net at the second attempt, his 15th of the season, with 40 minutes on the clock

That was to be the forward’s last involvement of note as he was taken off injured at the break and replaced by Jones.

Jones almost made a telling return from his hamstring injury when he met Grant Roberts’ corner, but Arestidou got down well to smother his header.

Either side of that effort, the Hatters had chances to reduce the arrears as an unmarked Odejayi, blindsighted as the ball ran through a packed United penalty area, couldn’t get enough purchase on a back-post effort and Karl Ledsham saw a powerful 25-yard effort fall wide of the United post.

And then Boston turned the magic on.

Firstly Jones made it 3-0 with the finest individual goal you’ll see at York Street this season and Hilliard finished off a superb team move.

With 69 minutes gone, Jones collected the ball close the halfway line and ran at the three County defenders before powering into the box and unleashing a fierce drive into Arestidou’s near top corner.

The fourth, four minutes later, began from the back. After Henrich Ravas had tipped Ledsham’s header off target, United cleared the resultant corner.

Jordan Richards nutmegged Ledsham on the flank and played in Roberts. His reverse pass found Felix on the wing and Hilliard, at the back post, forced home the cross just three minutes in to his first United appearance.

As the final whistle blew, the Pilgrims headed to the showers ready to spruce up for their Christmas party on the back of three straight National League North wins. And didn’t they just have a reason to celebrate.

BUFC: Ravas, Marrs, Mills, Piergianni, McEvoy, Garner (Sands 77), Richards, Roberts, Felix, Southwell (M. Jones HT), Rollins (Hilliard 70); Subs (not used): Robbins, Vince.

COUNTY: Arestidou, Morton, O’Hanlon, Smalley, Garvin, Tonge (Evans 55), Joyce (Baggie 85), Montrose, Ledsham, Odejayi, Margetts; Subs (not used): Roberts, Fulwood, Ormson.

Ref: Amy Fearn.

Att: 1,316 (121).