Two goals in the space of four minutes saw a lacklustre and lacking Boston United succumb to a 2-0 defeat at home to Hednesford Town.
For the Pilgrims it was a miserable performance on a miserable day, with the hosts failing to even muster one miserable shot on target.
The Pitmen throroughly deserved the victory on a day when only one team was ever at the races, and they didn’t play particularly brilliantly themselves.
For the hosts things didn’t click anywhere on the pitch, with not a single player coming anywhere close to fulfilling their potential, although keeper Paul Farman did make a succession of saves to keep the score down.
United kicked off with a number of changes to the starting XI. Zak Mills was replaced at right back by Liam Marrs after picking up an injury during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Worcester City, one of four changes made by Pilgrims boss Dennis Greene.
The other three came in midfield where Danny Meadows, David Fallah and Michael Hollingsworth - making his first start since the 1-1 draw with Stalybridge Celtic on August 30 - returned to the starting line-up at the expense of Conor Marshall and on-loan Notts County duo Kyle Dixon and Greg Tempest.
Unavailable for selection were Carl Piergianni (suspended), Jamie McGhee (injured) and Marc Newsham, whose gradual rehabilitation from a long-standing knee injury continues.
Hednesford weren’t without their own injury issues as former Brackley duo Glenn Walker and Steve Diggin have both been absent, although Diggin was named on the bench prior to kick off.
It was the Pitmen who created the first real sights of goal in the contest. After Danny Glover and James Hurst had lashed efforts off target Paul Sullivan came within a whisker of opening the scoring, only for his glancing header to float wide of Farman’s far post.
Farman then made his first save of the game as he held on to Jamey Osborne’s weak 25-yarder.
At the other end, Paul McCone’s challenge denied Conner Robinson as he looked to pull the trigger and, when Robinson looked to have been given a strike at goal following Fallah’s clever reverse flick, Dan Crane was off his line swiftly to deny a shooting opportunity.
United’s best chance of the opening half came when Fallah met Stefan Galinski’s goalbound header in front of goal, but his flick on sailed over the bar.
It was a miss the Pilgrims were left to rue as two goals in four minutes saw Town take a comfortable lead into the interval.
McCone opened the scoring when he met Darren Campion’s corner in the 39th minute. Farman got down well to deny the initial opportunity but momentum saw the Hednesford defender able to bundle over the follow-up from almost on the goalline.
Moments later, Poor defending allowed Sullivan to control the ball at his feet following Ben Bailey’s long throw-in. After twisting and turning he carved open enough space to lash a strike beyond Farman.
Marrs almost reduced the arrears seconds after the re-start, but his misplaced cross flew over Crane but wide of the target.
With 50 minutes on the clock a double substitution saw the Pilgrims switch from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 formation, Marshall and Dixon replacing Hollingsworth and Fallah.
However, things didn’t really improve.
Farman earned himself a booking when he rushed out of his box and flattened Osborne. But as the ball was travelling away from goal and the impact took place wide on the right wing he escaped a more severe punishment.
And the keeper was in the thick of it again seconds later as he got down to smother Tom Peers’ strike.
Peers then slipped Alex Melbourne in with the most clear-cut chance of the day, but the attacker rushed his side-footed strike and Farman again smothered comfortably.
When the Boston keeper was beaten again it came from his own teammate, Stefan Galinski’s back pass skipping beyond Farman but off target, something which seemed to sum up the hosts’ day.
Things could have been even worse when Tom Thorley slid in at the back post, but the Hednesford substitute couldn’t direct Hurst’s cross on target.
While Hednesford were good value for their three points, United were left with a day to forget.
Sadly, performances this bad are the ones that stick in the memory.
UNITED: Farman, Marrs, Steer, Dowie, Garner, Galinski, Hollingsworth (Marshall 50), Fallah (Dixon 50), Southwell, Robinson, Meadows (Doran 66); Subs (not used): Tempest, Felix.
HEDNESFORD: Crane, Hurst, Campion, Bailey, McCone, Westwood, Osborne (Thorley 76), Crowther, Glover (Diggin 90), Sullivan (Peers 66), Melbourne; Subs (not used): Robinson, Ashmore.
Ref: David Richardson.
Att: 982 (47).