BOSTON UNITED 1 BRACKLEY TOWN 2: Injury jinx continues as Pilgrims are downed by the Saints

Jay Rollins.
Jay Rollins.

Try as they might, Boston United just cannot beat Brackley Town at home.

Even this afternoon, with the Saints down the wrong end of the National League North and bringing their poorest side to Lincolnshire to date, they still left with all three points courtesy of David Moyo’s 30th-minute goal and Richard Batchelor’s stoppage-time finish, which completed a miserable afternoon for the hosts.

Zak Mills headed home a consolation with almost the last touch of the game, but by then the damage had been done.

But picking up just one point from four meetings in Lincolnshire is the least of the Pilgrims’ current worries.

That defeat - along with results elsewhere in the division - means they slipped down to seventh with that play-off dream looking as tough as ever to reach.

With one win in eight matches and the club losing four in a row for the first time since August-September 2012, it appears that some kind of spark is desperately needed to reignite Boston’s season.

But where that would come from is anyone’s guess as, yet again, dominance did not lead to goals, while needless individual errors gift-wrapped points for the opposition.

Injuries and unavailabilities have plagued the Pilgrims’ season, and there was no change to the narrative today.

Mark Jones’ calf injury saw him sidelined for the fixture while Dylan McEvoy remained at home in the north east and Cameron Johnson continued his suspension.

Ryan Robbins joined his teammates in the warm-up, but as his loan spell at Corby doesn’t officially end until Monday night he was ineligible for selection.

And if numbers weren’t low enough, the hosts were to lose Liam Marrs and Jay Rollins to injury during the contest.

With Nuneaton being stripped of three points in midweek after admitting to fielding an ineligible player in their victory at Corby, United’s play-off hopes received a surprise boost, and the hosts wasted no time in looking to add to their points tally.

Scott Garner and Rollins both saw early headers flash wide of the mark before the Pilgrims’ injury curse reared its head once again.

With less than seven minutes on the clock Rollins was replaced by Kaine Felix after the winger pulled up with a hamstring injury.

Carl Piergianni - returning from his two-match suspension - and Lewis Hilliard were the two changes to the side which were beaten 2-1 by North Ferriby seven days earlier, replacing Joe Burgess and Felix.

And the two connected when Piergianni met Hilliard’s corner, but his header failed to trouble Sam Hornby, the Saints keeper then getting down well to smother Felix’s effort on the slide after he connected with Zak Mills’ low cross.

As Boston continued to set the early pace Hilliard collected Felix’s cross at the back post but his heavy first touch allowed Jake Phillips to clear, while Conner Robinson flashed a first-time effort beyond Hornby but the wrong side of the post.

That failure to turn dominance into a healthy lead came back to haunt the hosts on the half-hour mark as Brackley were gifted the lead with their first attack of any real substance,

Matt Lowe’s tame effort snuck through the fingers of Fabian Spiess and Moyo gratefully forced home the simplest chance he’ll receive this season.

That goal killed the Pilgrims’ attacking thrust, their next effort not coming until first-half stoppage time, Hornby palming away Hilliard’s effort on the turn and Felix blasting the follow-up well off target.

A more determined Boston took to the turf for the second half.

Felix’s burst down the right set up a game of pinball in the Saints’ box, with Zak Mills and Dayle Southwell seeing efforts blocked.

Garner then sent a header towards goal, but Robinson could only steer the ball over from six yards out.

The Pilgrims made their second enforced substitution in the 53rd minute, Burgess replacing Marrs, whose afternoon was ended by a rash challenge which saw Moyo booked.

A rare foray forward saw Brackley go close to doubling their lead as Lee Ndlovu’s header bounced onto the top the home side’s crossbar.

But back came Boston, Hornby reacting well to tip Garner’s header over his bar before Moyo nodded one wide of the mark at the other end.

Hilliard’s 25-yard volley was coolly held by Hornby before Brackley doubled their advantage in stoppage time.

Burgess was shrugged off the ball too easily by Moyo, who slipped in substitute Batchelor for another simple finish.

Boston had one last push, Hornby tipping Garner’s effort over. But from the resultant corner Mills had a simple header to narrow the scoreline.

Of course, it was too little too late as the damage had already been done.

UNITED: Spiess, Mills, Brown, Piergianni, Marrs (Burgess 53), Hilliard, Garner, Roberts, Rollins (Felix 7), Southwell, Robinson (Lavelle-Moore 68); Subs (not used): Limb, Payne.

BRACKLEY: Hornby, Phillips, Graham, Slade, McDonald, Tilney, Lowe, Clarke, Walker, Ndlovu, Moyo; Subs (not used): Batchelor, Winters, Odhiambo, Morley, Mills.

Ref: Gareth Mellor.

Att: 1,302 (40).