Jordan Blinco opened his Boston United account with a brace to seal a 2-1 victory at Alfreton Town.
The on-loan Sunderland youngster netted in each half to hand the Pilgrims a deserved lead, only for Joe Ironside’s late strike to set up a nervous end to the contest.
But the Pilgrims held firm to collect the three points.
It was a case of Blinco and you missed it as the winger put the Plgrims in front within the first minute, while the second goal was a touch of class in a contest where Boston saw too many good opportunities go begging.
Dennis Greene called on his side to make a statement following Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at struggling Worcester City, and it took just 52 seconds for them to deliver.
Dayle Southwell powered his way into the box and, from the byline, cut back a low cross for Blinco to happily force the stray ball home from close range after the Reds missed opportunities to clear their lines.
Sensing their hosts were on the back foot, the Pilgrims pushed on for a second, Grant Roberts flashing a 25-yard strike wide and John Sands smashing a tight-angled drive against Matt Duke’s near post after Zak Mills’ long throw was allowed to pass through the Alfreton penalty area all too easily.
Town slowly pulled themselves into the contest, although it took 25 minutes for them to turn possession into an effort at goal.
But after Joe Leesley’s drive flew way off target, Henrich Ravas twice found himself tested - holding on to Sam Smith’s header and getting down to smother Jordan Robertson’s goalbound effort at the second attempt.
United should have ended the half with a comfortable lead but Sands’ drive was deflected wide and Southwell ended a storming run at goal by blasting well over the crossbar.
After the re-start Southwell and Sands - Boston’s own SAS duo up front - both went close again.
Sands saw a header held by Duke while the Reds keeper stood firm to beat away a stinger from the former Grimsby forward.
In response, Town had a tenuous penalty appeal turned down after Smith went down under Carl Piergianni’s challenge, while Ryan Wilson met Ravas’ punch but his volley didn’t have enough dip to land under the bar.
Blinco doubled the Pilgrims’ advantage in the 61st minute. A goal made in Sunderland saw Dylan McEvoy’s cross semi-cleared by the Reds’ defence, only for the winger to control on his chest and fire a low volley beyond Duke’s outstretched fingers.
It could have been 3-0 when substitute Kaine Felix broke clear of the defence, but this time Duke got a hand to the strike and diverted the ball round his post.
For the hosts Tom Allan hit the United side netting before Joe Ironside gave Alfreton hope in the 81st minute.
A goalmouth scramble saw Ravas save and the ball strike the Pilgrims’ post before the substitute was in the right place to prod home from close range.
As Town pushed for an equaliser Ironside was wasteful with a header which he placed off target, while Jamie Jackson saw a low strike fly off target with Ravas grounded.
ALFRETON: Duke, Moyo, Heaton, Wilson, Galinski, Johnston (Allan 55), Leesley, Thanoj (Jackson 72), Jones, Smith (Ironside 72), Robertson; Subs (not used): Jordan, Draper.
UNITED: Ravas, Marrs, Mills, Piergianni, McEvoy, Garner, Richards, Roberts, Southwell, Sands (Dixon 66), Blinco (Felix 67) Subs (not used): Felix, Robbins, Simmons, Johnson.
Ref: Paul Graham.