BROWNE ON THE BALL: That was bad, but you’ve had it much worse

Jan Yeomans.
Jan Yeomans.

Defeat to Altrincham was a low point in Boston United’s season, but Duncan Browne argues it’s by no means as bad as things have been...

Boston United’s defeat to struggling, lowly and not particularly impressive Altrincham on Saturday was one to file under ‘never dare speak of again’.

Adam Millson's emergence from the youth team was a highlight of the 2008-09 season. There weren't too many more. ENGEMN00120110308111027

Adam Millson's emergence from the youth team was a highlight of the 2008-09 season. There weren't too many more. ENGEMN00120110308111027

So bad that after the game fans debated whether a 1-0 home loss to a side who had won just twice all season was in fact worse that a 9-2 stiffing at league leaders AFC Fylde.

It’s not a sign of a classic season when ‘worst performance’ becomes a topic of debate.

While those big defeats - such as the 6-1 drilling dished out by Grimsby and 7-2 seeing to administered by Oxford City - stick in the mind because the scorelines are so rare, in many ways this weekend’s loss was a lower point.

Fylde are full time, spending big and have scored 92 times this season. And in that game United still managed to net twice.

On Saturday they failed to get off the mark against a team who had shipped 72 times, beginning the day with the joint-worst defence in the division.

But even worse was the side’s failure to learn from previous lessons.

They began brilliantly, passing well, carving the opposition open and looking by far the better team.

But after two good saves from Stuart Tomlinson and a rattling of the woodwork a counter attack was the side’s undoing, just as it was against Nuneaton in the previous home game.

Then at the death, grabbed-at efforts and more goalkeeping heroics ensured another home defeat for the Pilgrims.

But before we get too carried away, things need to be put into perspective.

This is by no means the worst season Boston United have suffered in the past decade.

Cast your mind back to the 2008-09 campaign when a goalless draw at Frickley was greeted like a win, where a 1-0 final-day victory at home to Cammell Laird was needed to secure survival in the UniBond Premier.

Beating relegation with a four-point deduction in the Football League is a triumph, scraping survival with the basis of a squad who finished mid-table in the Blue Square North 12 months earlier is awful

This was a truly gloomy season, when an uninspiring side lost 5-0 at Nantwich, 3-0 at Kendal Town, 3-0 at Ashton United and 3-1 at Marine.

Midway through that season it became obvious that staying up was about as good as it could get.

There was a change in management and the mandate was to end the campaign above the drop zone and rebuild in the summer.

A kid from the academy thrusting his way into the first team and leading by example was probably the highlight.

It’s been a very similar story this term, just that bit harder to take because of all the what-could-have-beens last May.

This is by no means an excuse for what has been happening lately - in particular at the Jakemans Stadium - but a plea for perspective at a club that still hasn’t turned its back fully on historical financial issues, competing in a division where some clubs are backed by millionnaires and a billionnaire.

The last time United narrowly beat the drop a summer rebuild saw them respond with promotion.

I’m not saying Adam Murray can guarantee that next season, but he deserves his chance to try with his own squad.

This season hasn’t been great. But there has been worse.