Abbott pulls the strings but Rollins leaves on a stretcher in Southport win

Brad Abbott.
Brad Abbott.

Boston United 2 Southport 0

(Brad Abbott 42, Jordan Thewlis 68)

Jordan Thewlis maintained his incredible scoring record as Boston United beat Southport 2-0 to edge closer to the National League North play-off spots.The Pilgrims striker scored his eighth goal in 11 appearances, and his seventh in eight matches at York Street, to secure three points over the Sandgrounders with a trademark burst of pace, trickery and a cool finish.

But it was Brad Abbott who really caught the eye as Boston dominated from start to finish, bossing the midfield, delivering a passing masterclass and scoring the opening goal, his second in as many home games.

It was evident from the opening seconds that the Pilgrims’ pacey wide men would have fun down the flanks, and the hosts could have won the game far more comfortably.

But they didn’t have it all their own way, the woodwork and a fine save from Peter Crook ensuring United kept their seventh clean sheet of the season - one fewer that the whole of last season, and it’s only September.

The league table will make keen viewing for Craig Elliott tonight as his Boston side sit eighth in the standings, five points off second with a game in hand.

The one dampener from the day, however, saw club captain Jay Rollins leave the pitch on a stretcher after injuring his knee.

Boston - unchanged from last Saturday’s FA Cup win at Stamford - began at a blistering pace, Rollins crashing an effort against the crossbar after meeting Alex Whittle’s teasing cross on seven minutes.

Four minutes later and ther hosts were rueing two further missed opportunities.

Thewlis miscued when put in by Rollins, himself freed by an inch-perfect, defence-splitting pass from Abbott, and the same player then brought a diving save from Charlie Albinson.

When Thewlis turned provider with a drilled ball across the face of goal, Dominic Knowles got his angles wrong as his effort returned to where it has come from.

That Boston dominance finally paid off at the end of the half as Abbott fired the hosts in front three minutes before the break.

Winning the ball in the middle of the park with a crunching challenge, the midfielder sprinted on to meet Knowles’ cutback and beat Albinson with a strike into the bottom far corner.

Nicky Walker and Thewlis teed up Knowles moments into the second half, but Zehn Mohammed slid in to block the effort.

Peter Crook remained switched on to beat away Andy Parry’s header from point-blank range as a deep corner saw the Port carve out their first effort on target with an hour played.

Quick feet, trickery and a determination to stay on his feet saw Rollins put in a deep cross for Walker, who could only smash an effort across goal.

Reagan Ogle’s long throws offered Southport a threat all afternoon, and from one Jack Sampson’s flicked header bounced off the top of United’s crossbar as the away side looked to force their way back into the game.

But as the game became stretched it played into the hands of the hosts, Thewlis doubling the advantage in the 68th minute.

Abbott, again, delivered an inch-perfect pass but Thewlis still had work to do, outpacing one marker and twisting beyond another before poking home beyond Albinson.

The final 10 minutes saw the jubilant mood turn to stunned silence as Rollins received lengthy treatment.

UNITED: Crook. Middleton, Whittle, Platt, Ainge, Shiels, Rollins (Thanoj 89), Abbott, Knowles (Tuton 90), Thewlis, Walker (Adebayo-Smith 78); Subs (not used): Gibbens, Green.

SOUTHPORT: Albinson, Mohammed, Ogle, Parry, Astles, Morgan (Lacey 62), Glynn (Newell 75), Benjamin, Correia (Woods 62), Sampson, Bauress; Subs (not used): Green, Hanford.

REF: Sam Mulhall.

ATT: 1,021 (38).