Boston United hope to book their place in the play-offs today - here’s our guide to how they can do it

Mark Jones.
Mark Jones.

Boston United travel to Solihull Moors today, hoping to secure their place in the Vanarama North play-offs.

Dennis Greene’s side will welcome attackers Mark Jones and Jake Sheridan back from injury as they look for three points at Damson Park (KO 3pm).

The Pilgrims are currently fourth in the standings, and eager to cement their place in the top five with a match to spare.

However, sixth-placed Tamworth and Oxford City, in seventh, still have hopes of a late surge.

There are so many outcomes which could still happen, with plenty of potential twists and turns ahead in the race for the Conference Premier.

Here, The Standard offers a guide to what this afternoon’s matches could mean for each of those teams...

IF BOSTON UNITED WIN

If the Pilgrims (currently on 68 points) take all three points they could secure their place in the play-offs, but only if Tamworth (66 points) fail to win at Barrow.

The Lambs could have their work cut out for them at Holker Street as league leaders Barrow could secure the title and promotion this afternoon if they win and second-placed AFC Fylde fail to earn a victory at Harrogate Town.

A Boston success would also mean that Oxford (63 points) would not be able to catch them no matter what happens in their game at Gainsborough Trinity.

If Boston win and fifth-placed Guiseley (67 points) are also victorious at home to third-placed Chorley (70 points) then Oxford would be out of the promotion race and United would, in fact, move up to third.

If Boston and Tamworth both win but Guiseley lose then United would still not be assured of a top-five finish as Guiseley - unlike those others in the chase - have a game in hand.

But if the Lions were to lose against Chorley and be beaten at home by North Ferriby on Tuesday then three points would be enough for the Pilgrims with the final match of the campaign yet to be played.

IF BOSTON UNITED DRAW

A point for Greene’s side would by no means be the end of the world.

Were United and Solihull to share the spoils then Boston would still be the masters of their own destiny going into the final contest of the season.

If this happened and Tamworth were to pull off a victory at Barrow then the two teams would be locked on 69 points with one match left to go each.

However, United’s goal difference of +21 is far superior to Tamworth’s +7, meaning victory at home to Leamington on the final day of the campaign would surely still mean a place in the knockout rounds.

If the Pilgrims and Tamworth were to both draw then, going by the same logic, a point on the final day of the season would be enough to see Boston into the top five.

A point for Boston would also all-but end Oxford’s hopes as well.

Boston would be sat on 69 points, the highest total City can muster, and it would take a massive swing for Oxford (+11) to overcome Boston’s goal difference advantage - although you can never quite rule out the boys from Marsh Lane recording yet another eyebrow-raising result.

If Boston draw today then Oxford’s only hope of a play-off place would surely be if they beat Trinity today and Guiseley on the final day of the season, with the Lions only mustering a further point in their two additional matches against Chorley and Ferriby, while Tamworth claimed no more than three points from their final two contests.

A draw would see Boston maintain their top five status, but if Guiseley beat Chorley today then United will drop to fifth.

IF BOSTON UNITED LOSE

Of course, this is the worst-case scenario for the Pilgrims.

If Boston are beaten and Tamworth win then United will drop out of the play-off zone and go into the final day of the season knowing they would have to better the Lambs’ result at home to already-relegated Hyde in order to regain a coveted top-five slot.

Tamworth will be huge favourites to beat Hyde and many would think it would take a minor miracle for Boston to retun to the play-offs.

However, this is the only scenario which will see United going into the final day outside of the top five.

If Tamworth are also beaten then a point on the final day of the season should be enough for United.

Were Boston to lose and Tamworth draw then the Pilgrims would still have a one-point advantage ahead of the final round of matches, needing to just match the Lambs’ final result for a top-five finish.

A defeat for Boston, coupled with an Oxford victory would also mean City have closed the gap to two points.

But Oxford would still need Tamworth to pick up no more than three points from their final two contests to be in with any shout of promotion.

If Boston, Tamworth and Oxford all lose then City will be out of the chase with United the firm favourites to secure a top-five finish on the final day of the season.