STOCKPORT COUNTY 3 BOSTON UNITED 2: Pilgrims edged out at Edgeley Park

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Last season it was jubilation. This season is was what might have been.

Boston United left Stockport County with a 3-2 defeat, rueing sloppy defending and chances that went begging.

It was a far cry from the scenes little more than a year ago when the Pilgrims began their season with a 4-1 victory at Edgeley Park.

Today, the hosts claimed the three points as Boston completed a week - and an opposing goalkeeper - they will want to forget.

Paul Farman, who joined the Pilgrims on a three-month loan from Lincoln City yesterday, made his debut between the sticks.

He was one of four changes Dennis Greene made to the team which was thumped 7-2 by Oxford City in midweek.

Rene Steer and Stefan Galinski returned to the defence and Jay Dowie made his first start of the season, following his long-running ankle injury.

Matt Gledhill, who kept goal on Tuesday, did not travel with the squad, while David Fallah, Conor Marshall and the injured Liam Marrs dropped out of the starting line-up.

Both teams made a positive start to the encounter with the large Edgeley Park pitch lending itself to an open and end-to-end contest.

Boston had seen Carl Piergianni’s header land on the roof of the net and Dayle Southwell’s prodded effort comfortably saved by Danny Hurst before County claimed a 21st-minute lead.

Robert Lofthouse whipped his corner deep into the Pilgrims’ penalty area where Jack Ryan offered clear and present danger - heading beyond the helpless Farman.

But, if anything, that goal gave the away side the wake-up call they needed.

Garner somehow forced Ster’s low drive over the County bar before Southwell’s powerful drive brought a fine one-handed reaction save from Hurst.

From the resultant corner it was all square, Carl Piergianni meeting McGhee’s dead ball and powerfully heading the Pilgrims level against his old club.

There was, however, one final twist to the first half, with Stockport regaining the lead as Kristian Dennis forced home a low cross in the 44th minute.

Boston had a great chance to draw level just seconds after the re-start.

But after Southwell controlled Felix’s right-wing cross eight yards from goal, Hurst was in the right place to parry.

Dennis grabbed his second of the day in the 49th minute to give the hosts some breathing space.

There was an air of fortune about the creation of the goal as Chris Churchman’s horribly scuffed shot dissected the United defence, but there was nothing lucky about what happened next as Dennis was on hand to slot beyond Farman with a perfectly-timed diagonal run and clever finish.

Stockport sub Nathan Woolfe then tried his luck inside the penalty area, but Farman was on hand to hold the effort.

Ryan should then have doubled his tally but somehow forced his header off target before swiping an effort over the United bar.

United rode their luck and gave themselves some hope in the 83rd minute as Southwell netted his sixth of the season.

McGhee’s free kick was nodded over Hurst by Piergianni, allowing the striker to slide home from close range.

In the 90th minute Piergianni’s heavy touch left him in trouble and as he attempted to regain possession he upended Chris Sharp referee Tom Nield produced a straight red.

Farman was forced into an acrobatic stop in stoppage time as he fingertipped Sharp’s drive round his post, also doing well to deny Dennis a hat-trick as he loomed down on goal.

And that was it. For United there would be no comeback - just thoughts of what might have been, a defender facing suspension and a team which has conceded 10 times in a week.

COUNTY: Hurst, Lees, Duxbury, Churchman, Gregson, O’Halloran, Dennis, Baker (Belezika 36), Spencer (Sharp 75), Lofthouse (Woolfe 56), Ryan; Subs (not used): Ormson, Fagbola.

UNITED: Farman, Mills, Steer, Dowie, Garner, Piergianni, McGhee, Galinski (Fallah 57), Southwell, Felix (Barlow 80), Meadows (Hollingsworth HT); Subs (not used): Marshall, Vince.

Ref: Tom Nield.

Att: 2,585.