BOSTON UNITED 0 HARROGATE TOWN 3: Defensive mishaps cost Pilgrims

Ben Gordon.
Ben Gordon.

Boston United’s poor home record against Harrogate Town continued with a 2-0 defeat - the Pilgrims the masters of their own downfall.

Sloppy defending saw United gift the visitors all three of their goals at the Jakemans Stadium, as Adam Murray suffered back-to-back defeats as Boston boss for the first time.

That’s four defeats, three draws and just one win at home against Harrogate for the hosts in their eight matches in Lincolnshire.

And even more eyebrow-raising, the Pilgrims are still to win at home on a Saturday this season.

Simon Ainge, Louie Swain and Joe Leesley were the matchwinners, their side much the better on the day as Boston barely threatened their National League North rivals’ goal.

Murray made four changes to the side which lost 1-0 at Tamworth the previous week.

Midfielder Adam Chapman was handed his debut while Josh Robinson, Jay Rollins and Charlie Gatter returned to the starting XI at the expense of Nat Brown, Alex Simmons, Joe Fitzpatrick and Marcus Marshall.

New signing Jan Yeomans, a left back formerly with Radcliffe Olympic, was named on the bench after impressing in training.

Boston began with a 3-5-2 formation with Gatter joining Robinson and Tom Batchelor in a defensive triumvirate.

But despite the side doing well to nullify the Town attack for most of the opening 45 minutes, Simon Weaver’s side stil led 1-0 at the break thanks to Ainge’s goal.

With less than a minute played Warren Burrell rattled the Pilgrims’ crossbar with a speculative 40-yard effort after Ross Durrant’s scuffed clearance landed in his path.

But in a first half where both sides huffed and puffed but failed to turn territorial advantages into chances, there was very little goalmouth action.

Ainge broke down too many opportunities by straying offside, but when he remained onside he neatly nodded home in the 31st minute.

After Leesley’s corner was poorly cleared back to him he made no mistake at the second opportunity, curling in a deep cross which the Town striker powered home at the bacxk post.

Harrogate began the second half with more purpose, Lewis Turner cutting in and flashing a strike wide of the far post and Joe Colbeck forcing Durrant into a save.

But their second goal, scored in the 58th minute, was more of a gift than hard work paying off.

After Kalern Thomas and Robinson both failed to clear, Batchelor attempted to shield the ball for Durrant to collect, but communicationn was poor and the two teammates ended up on the floor as Swain was gifted an open goal to tap into.

The second goal finally sparked life into the Pilgrims’ attack, and the hosts almost reduced the arrears as Ben Gordon’s tight-angled free kick struck the stanchion.

Town made it three in the 81st minute, Thomas upending Leesley in the box before the Harrogate man blasted home from 12 yards.

UNITED: Durrant, Thomas, Robinson, Batchelor, Gordon, Clarke, Chapman (Hawley 69), Gatter (Hilliard 55), Rollins, Brodie, Chippendale (Simmons 63); Subs (not used): Fitzpatrick, Yeomans.

HARROGATE: Crook, Turner, Parker, Burrell (Platt 83), Shiels, Ellis, Colbeck, Kerry (Thanoj 74), Ainge (Muskwe 78), Swain, Leesley; Subs (not used): Emmett, Agnew.

Ref: Anthony Tankard.

Att: 1,112 (57)