Boston United 1 Histon 1
MARC Newsham grabbed his first goal of the Blue Square Bet North season as Boston United came from behind to earn a point against Histon at York Street.
But it should have been three as the Pilgrims dominated the contest from start to finish, albeit for a lapse of concentration in the fourth minute.
The visitors, who dropped down from the Blue Square Bet Premier, would have fancied their chances to go straight back up.
But they’ve just learned that things aren’t that simple in this division, after being given the runaround by a weakened Pilgrims outfit.
United were made to make two changes to the side which won 2-1 at Workington on Saturday.
Mikel Suarez (hamstring) and Ben Wilkinson (knee) were replaced by Lawrie Dudfield, back out of retirement, and Adam Millson.
Julian Joachim was out of the squad after the weekend’s ankle injury.
Meanwhile Ryan Semple and Mickey Stones made the bench, despite still suffering knocks off their own.
But the changes didn’t seem to affect United, who pushed on with their 4-3-3 formation.
Early Boston pressure saw Kevin Holsgrove’s volley deflected wide by Grant Roberts.
And from the resulting corner Liam Parker’s header, from Ben Milnes’ dead ball, flashed wide.
But it was Histon whoo took the lead after four minutes.
Omer Riza skiped through the Boston defence far too easily, before cutting the ball back for Dan Holman, the striker with time to control the ball before slotting past Paul Bastock from six yards out.
As United looked to draw level they had a shot from similar distance, but Liam Parker’s effort – created by a bit of magic in the penalty area from fellow central defender Kevin Austin – was blocked by Zac Mills.
Adam Millson, replacing the injured Wilkinson, was put clear by Lawrie Dudfield’s neat flick, but Mills’ toe poke took the ball away from danger.
Again, from a corner, United troubled, but Austin’s header was wide of Jorg Stadelmann’s post.
The Pilgrims’ injury crisis continued on 15 minutes, Lee Canoville coming off after picking up an ankle injury when he collided with Harri Hawkins, following a short pass from Milnes.
Canoville was replaced by Jordan Fairclough, the right back making his league debut for the club.
Histon were troubling the United defence with their pacey counter-attacks, but their next decent chance arrived when Mills headed wide from close range.
It was Boston who scored next, Marc Newsham doing what he does best, poaching a goal from close range.
A clever turn from Millson saw the midfielder gain space, before feeding Gareth Jelleyman. The captain’s cross was flicked on by the evergreen Dudfield, Newsham gratefully stretching out a leg to prod past Stadelmann from close range.
Opting to try their luck from long range, United’s Chris Hall saw his long-ranger comfortably saved, but at this stage, United were now dominating the game.
Kevin Hoslgrove then brought out the best in Stadelmann who, at full stretch, tipped the wide man’s drive over.
Histon were getting desperate by now, and when it was Dudfield’s turn to breach the defence, his effort was deflected over by George Roberts’ brave lunge.
After the break and it was more of the same – Dudfield, put through by Holsgrove, saw his effort blocked by Stadelmann’s legs and Holsgrove’s cross deflected onto his own bar by Mills.
Histon received another let off when Fairclough’s powerful strike from outside the area whizzed wide.
The Pilgrims were screaming for a penalty in the 60th minute, but referee Ricky Wootton waved play on after Holsgrove’s shot struck Hawkins.
Against the run of play, Histon should have taken the lead.
But Matt Breeze’s cross was put wide by Riza, who was gifted a free header in the centre of Bastock’s goal.
As the half wore on, the Pilgrims became more and more frustrated their possession wasn’t leading to a goal.
And with that came the inevitable long range shots, Chris Hall, Holsgrove and Milnes all too wasteful too often.
In a rare foray forward, the visitors’ Lewis Taaffe hit a decent shot through a crowded Pilgrims penalty area, but Bastock gathered comfortably.
With 16 minutes remaining, Dudfield, who was tiring after his first match in three months, was replaced by Ryan Semple.
However, the forward was given the standing ovation his performance deserved.
Newsham saw a header go wide as Boston pushed on again, but every time a shot went wide, Stadelmann wound down the clock a little more.
Without Dudfield, United lost the ability to hold the ball up in attack, and their attacks became more desperate.
Hall again tried his luck from distance, this time his dipping effort off the laces falling just over the Histon bar.
And that was the last attempt on goal, as the Pilgrims had to settle for a draw.
UNITED: Bastock, Canoville (Fairclough 15), Jelleyman, Hall, Parker, Austin, Milnes, Millson, Dudfield (Semple 74), Newsham, Holsgrove; Subs (not used): Ward, Stones, Deane.
HISTON: Stadelmann, Mills, Hawkins (Cleaver 76), Roberts, Moore, Fitzsimons, Breeze (Taaffe 63), Stevenson, Holman, Riza (Dowie 83), Sparkes; Subs (not used): Day, Kitscha.
Ref: Ricky Wootton.