Karl Hawley’s first match in charge ended in defeat, but his Boston United side didn’t go down without a fight. Karl Hawley’s first match in charge ended in defeat, but his Boston United side didn’t go down without a fight.
It was second-bottom versus second at 7.45pm, but by full time Anthony Dudley’s finish had moved Salford City top of the table while the Pilgrims remain in the drop zone three points adrift of safety.
Caretaker boss Hawley made his mark with four changes to the side which was beaten 3-2 by Brackley in Adam Murray’s final game on Saturday.
Brad Beatson was handed his first appearance in 10 matches while Jay Rollins, Gregg Smith and Harry Vince returned to the starting XI.
Hawley omitted himself from the squad and Shane Killock was unavailable after returning to parent club Bradford Park Avenue.
Kabongo Tshimanga and Liam Wakefield dropped to the bench.
Salford led 1-0 at the interval thanks to Dudley ghosting into the box and sweeping home on the half-hour to mark, but the Pilgrims made them wok for their advantage.
Defending from the front, Boston were playing with quick-passing and pacy intent, while Sam Muggleton’s long throws again kept the away defence busy.
A fine fingertip save from Max Crocombe denied United a leveller after Rollins had guided a Muggleton's throw goalwards.
Vince put the loose ball back across goal but there's was nobody able to force home.
Salford looked to double their advantage before the interval, but Willis held on to Jack Redshaw’s 20-yard strike.
Both sides dragged efforts wide soon after the re-start, Mike Phenix going close for Salford and Rollins responding at the other end.
Redshaw slotted home after Willis parried Ibou Touray’s drive, but the offside flag denied the Ammies a second.
The final half hour offered little goalmouth action, with Crocombe effective in deals in game with free kicks and throws pumped into his box.
Deep into stoppage time Muggleton's drove a free kick goalwards but it was deflected wide by a teammate, the hosts' last chance gone.
UNITED: Willis, Clifton, Muggleton, McGuire, Beatson, McGowan, Hemmings (Tshimanga 78), Keane (Broadhead 82), Smith, Rollins (Adams 89), Vince; Subs (not used): Penfold, Wakefield.
SALFORD: Crocombe, Nottingham, Touray, Burton, Piergianni, Hogan, Dudley (Shelton 78), Mafuta, Phenix (Beesley 72), Redshaw (Dieseruvwe 86), Allen; Subs (not used): Aghayere, McHale.
Ref: James Bell.
Att: 1,019 (40).