BOSTON UNITED 0 LEAMINGTON 0: Pilgrims secure third.. now for the play-offs

Kaine Felix.
Kaine Felix.

Boston United secured third spot in the Vanarama North standings following a goalless draw with Leamington.

More importantly, the Pilgrims now know they will face ???? over two legs in the play-offs, beginning with Wednesday’s away match.

Fylde will face Guiseley in the other semi-final.

In a contest played in both bright sunshine and torrential rain, Boston dominated the contest and created chances in abundance.

However, they failed to break down the Brakes... but maintained their place in the standings as Chorley drew 0-0 with Solihull Moors and Guiseley were beaten 4-2 at Oxford.

United boss Dennis Greene had promised to wear fancy dress if his side had booked their place in the top five with a game to spare, and he was true to his word.

Before the players entered the pitch, Greene and assistant Martyn Bunce stormed out dressed as Del Boy and Rodney, with the Only Fools and Horses theme tune playing out over the Jakemans Stadium speakers.

Greene - in his pink shirt, flat cap and ‘D’ medallion - and Bunce - in a camouflage jacket and tight jeans - may have looked right plonkers, but they’ve certainly done the business this term.

United made six changes to the side which secured its play-off place with a 4-1 win at Solihull Moors the previous week.

Kyle Dixon, Marc Newsham, Jake Sheridan and Jamie McGhee returned to the starting XI, while teenage defender Ollie Price was handed his full debut and Jake Hall made his first start since rejoining the club.

With Scott Garner two bookings away from a two-match ban and strike duo Dayle Southwell and Mark Jones both playing through the pain barrier - and possibly expected to play three times within the space of 11 days before the end of the season - it seemed as if the club was looking at the bigger picture.

However, knowing that victory would guarantee them third spot, the Pilgrims began at pace.

With less than three minutes on the clock Kaine Felix burst through on goal, but after beating Jonny Maddison his effort rebounded off the post.

Carl Piergianni was next to try his luck, but his left-footed 20-yarder rasped wide of the target.

Relegated Leamington still had designs on finishing their campaign with a victory, and Richard Taundry came close to opening the scoring when his free kick curled just off target.

But normal service was resumed as Newsham connected with Dixon’s driven corner, only for his effort to be blocked.

As the ball was played back into the box, Piergianni headed wide.

The second half ended as it began, with Felix going close to opening the scoring.

The winger should have been awarded a penalty after being upended by Maddison earlier in the half, the keeper lucky to stay on the pitch, but as the first 45 came to a close he saw a drive hacked off the line and a 30-yard hooked shot saved.

Boston went even closer from the re-start when McGhee’s deflected strike rebounded into play off the crossbar.

Chances continued to come thick and fast for the hosts as Newsham headed Mark Jones’ cross over and Piergianni hooked an effort in the same direction.

And when Felix’s pace took him one-on-one with Maddison again his poked effort bent the wrong side of the post.

Leamington were then guilty of a horrific miss which could have seen them take the lead.

With Max Stryjek out of position and scampering back to his goal, Danny Newton was gifted a free header six yards away from an open goal... and somehow he missed the target.

In stoppage time United had one final chance to win it, but Zak Mills somehow fired over when unmarked at the back post.

UNITED: Stryjek, Mills, Price (Garner 64), Piergianni, Steer, Felix, Dixon, Hall, McGhee, Newsham (Southwell 69), Sheridan (Jones 58): Subs (not used): Walker, Saebe.

LEAMINGTON: Maddison, Magunda, Mace, Edwards, Tank, Gordon, Goddard, Taundry (Yafai 90), Gudger (Porter 90), Hicks, Newton; Subs (not used): Warner, Naylor, Feeney.

Ref: Alf Greenwood.

Att: 2,025 (55).