AFC TELFORD UNITED 1 BOSTON UNITED 2: Smith snatches victory at the death

Jason St Juste.
Jason St Juste.

So that’s how it feels! Super sub Gregg Smith came off the bench to force home a stoppage-time winner as Boston United left AFC Telford with all three points.

Just one week after conceding in time added on to be held to a draw at Nuneaton, the Pilgrims fans at New Bucks Head were enjoying the opposite emotion.

Jay Rollins burst down the right and teed up a low pinpoint cross which the forward powered home from close range.

Cue the Pilgrims joining the travelling fans in a chaotic huddle.

Jason St Juste had handed Boston a 15th minute lead, his first goal for the club in his 19th appearance, before Josh Wilson levelled midway through the second half for the hosts, who had been reduced toi 10 men following Ben O’Hanlon’s straight red card.

But it was Smith, who has already scored memorable late winners against Bradford Park Avenue and Alfreton, who had the last laugh with his sixth of the season.

Despite Smith and Joe Maguire returning from suspension and Kalern Thomas available following a foot injury, Dennis Greene kept faith with the starting XI which left Nuneaton with a 2-2 draw the previous week.

Pilgrims keeper Dion-Curtis Henry was in the thick of the action as the Bucks applied the early pressure.

With just 29 seconds on the clock the 19-year-old had to use his legs to deny Bradley Reid, who had jigged his way through the away side’s defence far too comfortably.

Henry then held on to Reid’s low strike on the turn before flapping, swiping and somehow getting rid of Dwayne Samuels’ testing cross.

When Samuels controlled a deep ball on the byline his touch was heavy but firm enough to wrong-foot Courtney Wildin, allowing him to cut inside and offload a powerful near-post drive which Henry got down well to hold.

All that and less than 10 minutes played, Boston having nothing to show for their efforts but a Jay Rollins effort lashed over the bar.

But in the 15th minute Boston took the lead with the very definition of smash and grab.

A swift breakaway saw Callum Chippendale prod St Juste through on goal.

His first touch appeared to have taken him wide and tightened the angle, but his second was a sweet finish which skipped low beyond James Montgomery and inside his far post.

It may have been against the run of play up until that point, but St Juste’s finish dictated the remainder of the half as the Bucks had their confidence jolted and Boston gained some belief.

Sean Williams responded by putting the ball in the Boston net, but referee Robert Massey-Ellis wasn’t letting him get away with booting the ball out of the hands of the grounded Boston keeper, despite the Bucks midfielder’s protestations.

As Boston’s defence got a grip on the game Telford’s goal threat dried up, the tackles got tougher, the match nigglier and the whistle more frequent.

As a result, neither side offered much more by way of a goal threat until first-half stoppage time.

Looking to go in on level terms, the hosts saw Jonathan Royle fail to trouble Henry with a hopeful 25 yarder and Ben Bailey headed over.

In response, Lewis Hilliard met Callum Chippendale’s free kick at the back post but headed well wide of the mark.

The second half began in similar fashion to the first, with Henry denying Reid, this time the keeper plucking a goalbound header from the air just seconds after a vital header from Joe Robinson denied the Telford striker a goalscoring opportunity.

In response, Fairhurst drilled a speculative 30 yarder over, his final contribution before he and Hilliard were replaced by Smith and Maguire, with Telford swapping Reid for David Hibbert.

The Bucks levelled in the 65th minute as Josh Wilson - replacing Paul McCone just five minutes earlier - got his name on the scoresheet.

Telford were afforded too much time to pass the ball in the Pilgrims box and, despite Robinson clearing the substitute’s first effort off the line, Wilson was in the right place to volley home the looping loose ball.

They could have took the lead moments later but Samuels’ connection wasn’t clean enough when in a good position.

The Bucks were forced to play the final quarter of an hour a man down as O’Hanlon received a straight red for denying Rollins a scoring opportunity, hauling him down outside the penalty area.

The resultant free kick saw Maguire’s free kick saved and Marcus Marshall’s follow-up fly wide.

A minute into stoppage time Boston broke down the wing and Smith snatched the winner.

Telford still had time for Bailey to force a save from Henry, but it was Boston who picked up their first win in six matches.

TELFORD: Montgomery, Samuels, O’Hanlon, Baily McCone (Wilson 60), Havern, Royle, Williams, Reid (Hibbert 56), McCarthy (Reynolds 82), Rea; Subs (not used): Broome, Lilly.

UNITED: Henry, Gordon, Wildin, Brown, Robinson, Marshall, Chippendale (Thomas 69), Hilliard (Maguire 53), St Juste, Rollins, Fairhurst (Smth 53); Subs (not used): Emery, Johnson.

Ref: Robert Massey-Ellis.

Att: 1,021.