Stalybridge Celtic 3 Boston United 1
BOSTON United suffered a horror show at Bower Fold last night.
Mark Robinson was taken to hospital 45 minutes into his debut, Shaun Pearson scored a freak own goal and Danny Davidson was bizarrely sent off as things went from bad to worse, to awful.
The evening started badly when manager Rob Scott was a no-show after being struck down by illness.
But in the opening exchanges, Boston battled well, standing up to Celtic’s robust approach.
However, the home side were also playing some nice, neat, attacking football, which saw them take the lead on 16 minutes.
Connor Jennings played a ball into the box where Phil Marsh skipped past Lee Canoville and beat Dan Haystead at his near post.
Boston were level seven minutes later as Anthony Church’s left-footed drive from 20 yards out took a deflection off ex-Pilgrim Tim Ryan and found its way into the net.
But it didn’t take long for Celtic to regain the lead in a frantic second half.
Glenn Rule’s 50-yard punt towards the Boston box caused confusion as Shaun Pearson headed back towards his own goal, lobbed Haystead and gave the hosts the advantage once more.
Haystead’s night could have been a whole lot worse seconds later as, from a drop ball on the halfway line, Celtic’s Craig Hobson attempted to kick the ball back to the Boston stopper, who saw the ball squirm through his hands and between his legs.
However, he managed to prevent it squeezing over the goal-line.
Stalybridge did extend their lead in the 33rd minute as Jennings broke clear and blasted home.
At half time United withdrew Robinson, who had suffered a gash down to his ankle bone.
The full back was taken to hopsital and replaced by fellow new boy Darren Williams.
There may have been no further goals in the second half, but there was plenty of controversy.
In the 67th minute Danny Davidson and Ryan were both chasing for the ball when Ryan seemingly pulled the big Boston forward to the floor before lashing out at him as he was attempting to get up. As they both rose to their feet they tangled, with Davidson using his arms to force Ryan away.
However, referee Paul Marsden, whose controlling of the game was inconsistent at best, opted to send Davidson off and only book Ryan.
The pair were worthy of the same punishment and it was a decision that left Boston joint boss Paul Hurst so incensed he refused to shake Ryan’s hand at the full-time whistle.
Referee Marsden had a chance to even the numbers up when Hobson caught Williams hard and ridiculously late, but he failed to show red on this occasion.
And so that was that.
Boston can have no complaints about losing the game, but the manner in which they tasted defeat will leave them more than a little bitter.
STALYBRIDGE: Budtz, Rule, Platt, Ryan, Meynell, Jennings (Davies 82), Brogan, Rea, Warburton (Austin 34), Hobson (Kay 74), Marsh; Subs (not used): Bembo-Leta, Elam.
UNITED: Haystead, Cullingworth, Pearson, Canoville, Robinson (Williams 46), Semple, Church, Sleath, Yates (Weir-Daley 62), Boyes (Davidson 62), Newsham; Subs (not used): Deane, Koranteng.
Ref: Paul Marsden.