Was half time at Kidderminster the dividing line between old Boston and the new United? Duncan Browne hopes so, but believes there will still be many bumps in the road...
If any game of football summed up where Boston United currently find themselves and where they aim to be then it was Saturday’s draw at Aggborough.
The first half saw Emmanuel Sonupe need just seven minutes to sprint on to meet the long kick of keeper Brandon Hall, skip beyond George Willis and place the ball powerfully into the inviting and unguarded net.
And as if that wasn’t frustrating enough, Adam Chapman’s chance to pull the Pilgrims level from the penalty spot was thwarted by one of Hall’s many good saves in the game.
A lack of concentration. Beaten by the ball over the top. An individual error. Not capitalising on chances when they come your way. Give or take a red card or two, it’s been the story of much of the season so far.
But while that opening 45 minutes was arguably a case of here we go again, what followed was a window into the world of where Adam Murray believes his side should be.
There was a fightback, an equaliser courtesy of Kabongo Tshimanga’s foot and Fraser Horsfall’s arm just four minutes into the second half. Add to that a refusal to be beaten and a stoic defence which limited opposition to hopeful efforts from distance and we were suddenly seeing glimpses of one of those hard-to-beat sides which Murray prides himself on putting together.
It was as if the Ghost of Christmas Present and Future popped by to condense what United have been doing and what they should be doing into one 90-minute showreel (the only constant rule being that if you let Tshimanga shoot within five minutes of the second half starting then there will be a goal).
The question now is where do Boston go from here?
That 15 minute interval at half time would be a nice dividing line between a team attempting to gel and a side’s end product.
However, I don’t think it will be that simple.
Tuesday’s late victory over North Ferriby showed the side are moving the right direction.
Better teams may have posed more of a threat but, like against Nuneaton, that willingness to go for goal in the dying seconds showed spirit and willingness and now sees the side unbeaten in three.
A predominantly young team which, due to injuries and suspensions, is changing - sometimes evolving - ahead of every match may not yet be quite ready to sustain the levels shown in that second half on Saturday every match, especially when they’re playing twice a week.
But the improvements being made are there to see.
There is something to work with, to build upon and to take confidence from.
Boston are by no means a finished article, but they have shown that on their day they are in a position to annoy, frustrate and stifle some of the division’s finest attacking players.
It would be too much to demand that every single game, but offering that perfomance more regularly would be a huge leap in the right direction.