BOSTON UNITED 1 BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 2: Boyes nets to sink Pilgrims at the death... but Craig Elliott’s side secure safety

Jordan Keane.
Jordan Keane.

Safety first! It was an afternoon of mixed emotions as Boston United conceded a 90th-minute goal to lose to Bradford Park Avenue, before having their National League North status confirmed seconds later.

Former Pilgrims striker Adam Boyes struck twice to cancel out Jordan Keane’s opener.

But Tamworth’s 2-0 defeat at Kidderminster Harriers confirmed what had been expected for the past handful of matches, United weren’t going down.

It was the hosts who got off to a dream start, Keane heading the Pilgrims ahead in the third minute.

The skipper stole a yard on former teammate Shane Killock and met Ashley Hemmings’ in-swinging free kick to flick the ball beyond the reach of Steven Drench and into the net at the far post.

It was a finish reminiscent of his goal against Kidderminster over Easter, but one of only a few clear-cut chances in a slow-paced first half.

Boyes levelled for Park Avenue nine minutes before half time, finishing off a move which was as simple as it was effective.

The warning signs had been there when Boyes earlier crashed a strike against George Willis’ crossbar, but the forward made sure at the second time of asking as he nodded Mark Ross’ right-wing cross beyond the rooted keeper.

Although opportunities were few and far between both keepers were called upon to keep the scores down, Drench holding on to Jake Beesley’s dipper and Willis pushing Ross’ drive wide moments before the interval.

A sweeping second-half move involving first-time passes from Andi Thanoj and Ben Middleton resulted in Beesley volleying over the Bradford crossbar, before Drench was called into action to hold onto Hemmings’ fizzing volley and tip away the same player’s free kick after it evaded the pack.

Willis looked to have earned his side a point with a fine double save to deny Antione Remi Recizac and Boyes before Stephen Brogan cleared Frank Mulhern’s follow-up off the line late in the game.

However, Boyes had the final say, collecting Mulhern’s knock down and slotting home from close range.

UNITED: Willis, Middleton, Qualter, Keane, Brogan, Clifton (McGuire 77), Abbott, Thanoj, Hemmings, Thompson, Beesley (Smith 68). Subs: Tshimanga, Wafula, Stewart.

BPA: Drench, Ross, Hill, Wroe, Killock, Havern, Brooksby (Remi Recizac 76), Boshell, Boyes, Spencer, Mulhern (Toulson 90); Subs Knight, Hall.

Ref: Sam Mulhall.

Att: 992 (36).