Dayle Southwell bagged a brace as Boston United earned a 3-2 pre-season victory at Carlton Town.
In the Pilgrims’ penultimate warm-up match, the summer signing delivered the goods yet again, taking his tally to five in friendly matches.
Manager Dennis Greene began with a 3-5-2 formation which saw Scott Garner, Carl Piergianni and Duran Reynolds operate as the three central defenders and Zak Mills and Rene Steer enjoy plenty of space down the flanks as wing backs.
Jamie McGhee was moved into attack to partner Southwell while Danny Meadows, Jay Dowie and Conor Marshall operated in the heart of the pitch.
Sam Vince was given the nod in goal ahead of new recruit Matt Gledhill.
Unfortunately, for United, the first real talking point of the game saw Dowie pick up an injury which saw him carried from the pitch by substitutes Stefan Galinski and Jack Barlow, replaced by Michael Hollingsworth in the ninth minute.
Four minutes later the Pilgrimas took the lead through Southwell’s pinpoint header.
Mills - who had previously seen his 20-yard effort skim the outside of Liam Mitchell’s post - sprinted onto Marshall’s clever cross-field pass and played a teasing cross into the box, which the striker cleverly directed back across goal and into the bottom corner of the net.
Boston kept up the pressure, but Meadows’ chip, McGhee’s lob and Reynolds’ header - following Steer and Hollingsworth’s well-worked free kick routine - failed to cross the goalline.
Carlton levelled in the 40th minute as Joe Brothwell converted a low strike.
But a minute later Boston were back in front as Jamie McGhee skipped past his marker before beating Mitchell with a low strike.
The hosts, however, were far from ready to throw in the towel and levelled again with seconds of the first half remaining.
This time Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe latched onto Piergianni’s defensive header, rounded Vince and rolled the ball into the unguarded net.
After the re-start McGhee and Meadows both forced saves from Mitchell while Mills, particularly, continued to look dangerous down the wing.
However, the hosts came more into the game throughout the second half and looked a tougher nut to crack.
In the 68th minute United replaced McGhee with Stefan Galinski, allowing Garner to move into attack.
And seconds later the Pilgrims were back in front as Southwell grabbed his second of the day, beating Mitchell at his near post with a low 20-yarder.
Pilgrims sub Jack Barlow wrong-footed Mitchell with a free kick, but the Carlton keeper corrected himself and managed to smother the ball.
CARLTON: Mitchell, Nnaj (Hastie 80), Guy, Troke (Minshall 80), Keane, Ball, Brothwell (Turner 80), Rae (Elliott 75), Ogedi-Uzokwe, Hooton (Kowal 80), Gardner (Campbell 70).
UNITED: Vince, Mills, Steer, Reynolds, Garner, Piergianni (Watson HT), Dowie (Hollingsworth 9), Marshall, McGhee (Galinski 68), Southwell, Meadows (Barlow 75); Subs (not used): Gledhill.
Ref: Declan Bourne.