If Boston United are to scrape into the Skrill North’s play-offs then they are going to have to do it the hard way.
After playing out a goalless draw at Leamington, the Pilgrims go into Easter Monday’s home clash with leaders North Ferriby United needing to make up five points in two contests.
Guiseley and Hednesford both won, the Pitmen confirming their place in the top five. The Lions are now the only team Boston can edge in front of.
It just wasn’t United’s day as they tried but failed to break down the division’s fourth best defence.
With Liam Agnew on duty with parent club Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, Dennis Greene was forced to shuffle his pack.
In came Ben Milnes, fresh from his two goals from the bench against Stalybridge Celtic last weekend as the Pilgrims lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, complete with their faithful midfield diamond.
The contest kicked off at a tremendous pace with both sides looking to grab an early advantage.
The Brakes should have opened the scoring within five minutes but Lee Chilton was wasteful in front of goal, smashing Danny Newton’s low cross well off target from close range.
Boston’s first chance saw Ricky Miller’s volley rebound off the Leamington crossbar after latching on to Spencer Weir-Daley’s lobbed through ball.
Jamie McGhee was the next Pilgrim to try his luck, but his low free kick was well held by Tony Breeden.
Another McGhee effort, this time from distance, was held before Leamington’s Nathan Hicks was handed a free run at goal.
But as the former Histon man let fly he was denied by Lewis King’s timely block with his body.
Miller then tried to test Breeden with a couple of attempts on the edge of the Leamington penalty area, but the opening 45 minutes finished goalless.
After the re-start Miller tried his luck with two deflected efforts, one which almost caught Breeden out and one which screwed wide.
As the game swung from end to end the Brakes came withing a hand of taking the lead.
Chiltern’s 30-yard strike looked destined for the top corner, until King did enough to prevent it crossing the line.
Back came the Pilgrims, and Carl Piergianni was within a whisker of adding to his five goals with two headers which both whizzed inches over the Brakes bar.
Another Miller strike led to another Breeden save as Boston looked to turn the screw, before a stop from King just kept United’s season alive.
Newton burst through, outpaced Piergianni and looked to have netted - but King somehow got an arm to the ball before smothering at the second attempt.
With five minutes of time added on, Weir-Daley was gifted an effort on the turn, but as his strike flew over the bar, United’s hopes of three points went with it.
LEAMINGTON: Breeden, Higgins, Mace, Daly, Morley, Wint (Moore 77), Owen (Till 78), Flanagan, Chilton, Newton (Johnson 85), Hicks; Subs (not used): Dodd, McNamee.
UNITED: King, Mills, Garner, Piergianni, Steer, Dowie, Milnes (Fairclough 85), Konadu (Ross 63), McGhee (Galinski 63), Weir-Daley, Miller; Subs (not used): Aujla, Hewitt.
Ref: Simon Barrow.