BOSTON UNITED 1 TAMWORTH 1: Brilliant Belshaw frustrates as Pilgrims settle for a point on milestone 100th match for Garner and Piergianni

Carl Piergiani and Scott Garner.
Carl Piergiani and Scott Garner.

Carl Piergianni and Scott Garner marked their 100th games for Boston United with a home draw against Tamworth.

It was not the three points the skipper and vice-captain would have wanted but - as happened when these two sides met on the August Bank Holiday last season - the spoils were shared with a 1-1 stalemate.

Perhaps the result would have been different were it not for the heroics of James Belshaw in the Lambs’ goal, the number one pulling off a selection of top stops to frustrate United, who put in arguably their best performance of the National League North campaign to date.

The fact that both Piergianni reached their milestones in just 106 competitive matches proves their worth to the team.

And Piergianni, named the man of the match, was welcomed back in the heart of defence following his return from suspension.

At the other end, Dayle Southwell put Boston ahead with his sixth goal in seven matches, but Ross Dyer’s second-half strike levelled things up.

The Pilgrims made three changes to the side which was beaten 1-0 at Gainsborough Trinity two days earlier.

With Henrich Ravas on duty with the Slovakian under 19s, Jason Alexander returned between the sticks while Piergianni, back from suspension, and the fit-again Kaine Felix took the places of Jordan Deacey and Aziz Dee-Conteh.

Danny Newton had a chance to put the Lambs in front with just seconds on the clock, but he got the ball trapped under his feet on the slippery surface and Liam Marrs was able to clear.

The Pilgrims began threatening Tamworth with a series of crosses into the box but were unable to create any real shooting opportunities before, at the other end, old boy Shane Clarke couldn’t quite connect with a low cross in the United area.

Back came Boston, Jay Rollins shooting wide when slipped through by Mark Jones and Southwell seeing a close-range strike deflected away by Steve Tomassen.

The chances continued to come at a frantic pace as Ross Dyer powered a header over the United bar when well placed.

Tamworth keeper James Belshaw got down well to parry Southwell’s 20-yard skipper and Felix’s goalbound strike was blocked by Andy Burns.

But Belshaw was finally beaten four minutes before the interval as Southwell latched onto Jones’ through ball.

The striker still had plenty to do from a tight angle, but he struck, his drive with enough effort to ensure the Lambs stopper could only parry the ball into his own net.

Tamworth were level just 44 seconds after the re-start, Dyer instinctively prodding home from close range after a cross from the right appeared to be diverted off target.

Belshaw was back in the thick of the action as United looked to regain the lead, the keeper smothering Southwell’s 20-yarder and instinctively forcing Jones’ close-ranger header over his bar.

And when Southwell did beat him again, after meeting Jones’ clever reverse-pass, the angle was too tight and the low effort nestled into the side netting.

But Belshaw was back to his heroics moments later, pushing Southwell’s header onto the woodwork.

There were some hearts in mouths when Marrs and Dyer collided in the United penalty area as both chased a cross, but referee Declan Ford opted not to point to the spot.

Belshaw got back to business as Boston went in search for a winner, denying both Garner and Jones with further saves.

UNITED: Alexander, Marrs, Roberts, Stone, Garner, Piergianni, Felix, Dixon, Southwell, Jones, Rollins; Subs (not used): Dowie, Limb, Friend, Deacey, Deen-Conteh.

TAMWORTH: Belshaw, Burns, Strong, Taylor (Hubbins 72), Tomassen, Preston, Durrell, Clarke, Dyer, Green, Newton (Morrell 80); Subs (not used): Warlow, Wilkins, Davies.

Ref: Declan Ford.

Att: 1,187 (74).