BROWNE ON THE BALL: Epic Dayle! Southwell is back and on target

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Dayle Southwell returned from injury with a goal, and now the Boston United striker is available for the league’s final 10-game run-in...

He’s back! On Wednesday night Dayle Southwell needed just 50 minutes to mark his return to the Boston United squad with a goal.

Collecting Jay Rollins’ square ball he had the presence of mind to take a touch, drop his shoulder to take his marker out of the game and slot coolly into the unguarded net.

It was his first goal since his previous game on December 19, that 4-0 drubbing of Stockport County, where he injured himself in the most Dayle Southwell way imaginable - by scoring a goal.

After playing on with an already injured matatarsal in that match, he found himself eyeballing and trying to outsmart Andreas Arestidou after his penalty was ordered to be retaken.

Opting not to give the County keeper any kind of chance he thumped his spot kick with such ferocity that his afternoon was effectively ended at the same time the ball nestled in the net.

Scans on the swollen foot discovered the leading scorer was to be out for some time - sixty-seven days, nine-and-half-weeks and seven matches to be exact.

Amazingly, that time scale is just 17 days shorter than the space between his last goal of last season (his third of the afternoon at Solihiull Moors) and his first goal of pre-season this campaign at Boston Town.

Even more amazing is that fact that when Southwell was replaced at half time in that Stockport match late last year he was the National League North’s leading goalscorer.

And when he returned to the pitch at Bradford last midweek he was still top of the charts.

Those 15 goals he scored in 23 league matches could not be caught by the chasing pack, even with the striker’s extended absence from the pitch.

As it stands right now, Southwell has scored 16 goals in 28 contests and was oneclear of his nearest golden boot challengers before the midweek round of matches.

But even more vital for the Pilgrims is the fact that the striker is back in action, and back on the scoresheet at this vital time of the campaign.

Without Southwell Boston have coped, spending the majority of his injury period in the play-off spots.

But with a fully-fit leading marksman they are even more of a team to be feared, a side which can change the game with one quick break, clever pass or goalmouth scramble.

Last season Boston United finished their normal league campaign unbeaten in the final 10 matches with a barely-fit, patched together Southwell - putting off his double hernia injury and too sore to train in the week - scoring 10 times.

There are now 10 matches left of the regular campaign, and this time Southwell is rested, regaining match fitness and desperate to make amends for narrowly missing out on promotion and the golden boot last season.