Super sub Andre Johnson scored his first Boston United goal to hand the Pilgrims an opening-day victory over old foes Guiseley.
His 76th-minute strike, teed up by a clever nutmeg from Adam Marriott, proved the difference in a tentative contest that won’t live long in the mind.
But in a game of few chances, Johnson struck to begin the Pilgrims’ campaign with three points against a tough opposition.
Despite Craig Elliott using the final two matches of pre-season to cast his eye over trialists, no deal was struck before the start of the season.
That meant United began with midfielder Spencer Harris dropping back to play alongside Ryan Qualter at the heart of defence, with the out-of-favour John McCombe taking his place on the bench.
Guiseley’s squad arrived with a quartet of former Pilgrims, Scott Garner and Reece Thompson making the starting XI and Jack Dyche and Kaine Felix named on the bench.
The two sides played out a goalless first half with the emphasis very much on not conceding rather than going out all guns blazing.
By far the best chance of the opening 45 fell to Boston’s Marriott, but Joe Green made a vital point-blank save to deny the striker after he was selflessly slipped in by Nathan Arnold.
Apart from that, Lions Will Hatfield and Kingsley James both blazing efforts well off target was about as close as it went to getting the pulse racing.
Marriott had another good opportunity to open his account midway through the second half, but as Jonathan Wafula’s cross beat last man Cliff Moyo the forward had more time than he thought and his sliced volley trickled out of play.
The hosts came within a whisker of opening the scoring when Wafula put Johnson in on goal, but Andy Halls’ outstretched leg guided the strike beyond the grounded Green and the post.
But the sub made no mistake a minute later, placing the ball high beyond the dive of the Guiseley keeper after Marriott’s neat nutmeg set him free.
Th strike may have taken a nick off
The Lions’ response was swift, but Rowan Liburd’s back-header bounced on top of the crossbar after beating George Willis.
UNITED: Willis, Middleton, Qualter, Harris, Jackson, Wafula, Abbott, Thanoj, Arnold (Walker 90), Marriott (Roberts 86), Margetts (Johnson 69); Subs (not used): McCombe, Gough.
GUISELEY: Green, Moyo, Heaton, James, Garner, Halls, Purver (Morrison 80), Hatfield, Liburd, Clayton (Odejayi 62), Thompson (Felix 76). Subs (not used): Dyche, Thornton.
REF: James Bell.
ATT: 1,231 (67).
STAR MAN: Andre Johnson. Not on the pitch long, be he added that spark the game had been lacking.
GOALS: United - Andre Johnson (76).
BOOKINGS: Guiseley - Hatfield (33), Odejayi (64).