BOSTON UNITED 1 ALTRINCHAM 2: Late flourish not enough as Pilgrims go five without a win

George Willis.
George Willis.

Boston United’s winless run stretched to five matches as they were beaten 2-1 by Altrincham.

Josh Hancock and Jordan Hulme netted the vital goals for the Robins, who thoroughly deserved the three points with a dominant display.

Ben Davies gave the Pilgrims hope from the spot but it was too little too late for a side that showed hardly enough bite or ambition in attack throughout the game.

And the hosts had keeper George Willis to thank that they were even in with a shout of snatching a leveller as he kept them in the game with a series of superb stops.

Callum Chettle became the 42nd player to feature for the Pilgrims this term as the Alfreton Town loanee made his debut in a three-man midfield, the only change to the side which drew at his parent club on New Year’s Day.

He came in for Jay Rollins, who was set to take a spot on the bench following two starts in four days on his return from a groin injury, but was replaced by Sebastian Malkowski after feeling a twinge in the warm-up.

Boston applied early pressure although Gavin Allott and Max Wright couldn’t hit the target, and the Robins began to take control as the half wore on.

The warning signs were there when Willis was forced to deny Hulme with his body, Lewis Gibbens throwing his frame in front of the lively Max Harrop’s follow-up.

Hancock opened the scoring in the 24th minute, collecting Harrop’s pass into feet, making space with his first touch and forcing his second into Willis’s far corner.

The lead was doubled when Hulme got a touch on Andy White’s cross from the right-hand side to guide the ball into the back of the net.

It would have been game over by half time had Willis not twice pulled off great saves to deny Hulme and also force Harrop’s drive over.

The Pilgrms ended the half with a flourish, but Tony Thompson pulled off a save to rival Willis, palming away Andi Thanoj’s 20-yarder after Davies’s free kick was blocked by the Alty wall.

The second 45 began true to form with Willis making two more important saves, Hulme and John Johnston wondering how they hadn’t put the contest beyond doubt, as did Hancock when he beat the floored keeper only for the ball to strike Ryan Qualter’s face and deflect wide.

Wright failed to trouble Thompson with a low strike midway through the second half and neither side offered a further threat until United were handed an 80th-minute lifeline.

After Allott was grounded in the box Davies stepped up and drilled a low, powerful penalty beyond Thompson’s drive.

Tai-Reece Chisholm almost marked his home debut with a leveller, but Thompson got enough behgind the ball to block his header at the far post.

UNITED: Willis, Davies, Jackson, Thanoj, Gibbens, Qualter, Wright, Abbott (Wafula 58), Allott, Chettle (Chisholm 60), Walker (Slew 75); Subs: Harris, Malkowski.

ALTRINCHAM: Thompson, White (Densmore 64), Hampson, Jones, Hannigan, Moult, Johnston (Williams 87), Richman, Hulme, Hancock, Harrop (Poole 79). Subs: Mantack, Elliott.

REF: Dean Watson.

ATT: 964 (68).

STAR MAN: George Willis - A series of superb saves which prevented a defeat becoming a stuffing.

GOALS: UNITED - Ben Davies (80); ALTRINCHAM - Josh Hancock (24), Jordan Hulme (34).

BOOKINGS: UNITED - Andi Thanoj (20), Ben Davies (55), Max wright (69); ALTRINCHAM - Andy White (47), Tony Thompson (79).