ALFRETON TOWN 2 BOSTON UNITED 3: Keane grabs dramatic winner but McGowan leaves on a stretcher

Jordan Keane.
Jordan Keane.

Jordan Keane smashed home a late winner as Boston United left Alfreton Town with a dramatic 3-2 win.

Ashley Hemmings scored two penalties in the opening 13 minutes to give Boston a comfortable lead.

But finishes from Evan Mulhern and Craig Westcarr - gifted an open goal following George Willis’ slip - pulled the Reds level.

The result moves the Pilgrims up to 16th in the National League North as they picked up their third win in a row.

However, the result was marred by an injury to Brad McGowan, who was stretchered off with ankle ligament injuries which will leave him sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Craig Elliott made four changes to the side which defeated Southport the previous week.

Ben Middleton made his debut at right back, in for the injured James Clifton, while a knock demoted striker Gregg Smith to the bench, replaced by Kabongo Tshimanga.

Andi Thanoj - one of Boston’s four former Reds, along with Keane, McGowan and Willis - and Stephen Brogan were given their first starts as Brad Beatson and Adam Curry were named among the substitutes.

Keane was handed the captain’s armband for his return to the Impact Arena, where he lined up against his brother Cieron.

The Pilgrims were gifted a first-minute lead, the away side awarded a penalty after just 16 seconds as Alex Cover upended Reece Thompson in the box.

Up stepped Hemmings to fire home his third spot kick in as many games.

And the dead-ball demon had his second of the game in the 13th minute, converting from the spot once more after Thompson’s endeavours were again halted, this time by Tom Allan.

Alfreton had their early chances as Brendon Daniels’ free kick fizzed wide of the mark and Tom Platt headed over.

At the other end, Chris Elliott was down well to smother Brad Abbott’s powerful strike while Thanoj saw his free kick clip the outside of the Reds’ post and Brad Abbott and Jay Rollins both forced efforts the wrong side of the mark.

Reece Thompson saw an effort parried by Elliott either side of two half chances for the hosts.

Noel Burdett’s attempt was blocked bravely by McGowan and Cover bent a 25-yarder beyond Willis’ upright.

Mulhern pulled one back for them Reds in the 57th minute with a header after Alfreton’s second-half pressure finally paid off.

And Westcarr levelled five minutes later, slotting into the empty net after Willis had slipped while clearing a routine ball.

United should have regained the lead instantly but Jay Rollins forced a free volley wide from close range.

Then, at the other end, Mulhern blazed over when he should have squared.

McGowan’s afternoon ended early, carried from the pitch on a stretcher after jarring his ankle, his departure met with warm applause from fans of his current and previous clubs.

Hemmings was left thumping the ground in anger after firing over following a clever one-two with Brad Abbott.

But captain Keane regained the lead in the 79th minute, firing in off the Reds’ bar after Alfreton failed to clear their lines.

Willis made amends with a near-post save to deny Westcarr a second equaliser and a fine point-blank block deep into the eight minutes of time added on.

ALFRETON: Elliott, Cover, Keane, Platt, Shiels, Allan, Wood, Burdett (Jennings 82), Mulhern, Day (Westcarr HT), Daniels; Subs (not used): Disley, Topliss, Johnson.

UNITED: Willis, Middleton, McGowan (Walker 72), Keane, Brogan, Rollins, Thanoj, Abbott, Hemmings, Thompson (Beatson 90), Tshimanga (Bennett 68); Subs (not used): Curry, Smith,

Ref: Martin Woods.

Att: 518.