Boston United 2 Gloucester City 0: United back into the Skrill North top five, but they were made to work for it

Spencer Weir-Daley.
Spencer Weir-Daley.

Boston United moved back into the Skrill North play-off spots after a workmanlike victory over Gloucester City.

The match was far from an edge-of-the-seat thriller, but the Pilgrims were good value for the three points - even if the in-form Tigers refused to let them settle into any real stride for large periods of the contest.

With Marc Newsham and David Ferguson out injured and Rene Steer still suspended, Dennis Greene was forced to shuffle his pack.

Spencer Weir-Daley joined Ricky Miller in attack while Junior Konadu was handed his first start in midfield.

That meant Jamie McGhee became a makeshift right back and Conor Marshall switched flanks to the left.

Reserve team stopper Andy Hewitt was named on the bench in the place of Sam Vince, who was left out by Greene, unimpressed by the keeper’s current reluctance to sign a new contract with the club.

United rode their luck in the first minute when they eventually, somehow, hacked away a goalmouth scramble.

But after that let-off they had the better of the early chances, with Miller and Weir-Daley both getting sights of goal, even if they couldn’t find the target.

As the contest began slipping into a dull midfield scrap, a thunderbolt from the blue put the Pilgrims 1-0 up.

Liam Agnew picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and, after driving forward, he unleashed a powerful strike which crept inside Tigers stopper Mike Green’s right-hand post.

The on-loan Sunderland midfielder - who has just been offered a two-year pro contract with the Black Cats - netted his first senior goal at York Street exactly four weeks earlier and admitted that day that he didn’t really know how to celebrate.

But today there was none of that as he headed straight for the dug-out and manager Greene, as the crowd went wild.

Gloucester’s best chance of the half fell at the feet of Nat Jarvis after Scott Garner failed to clear his lines. However, the strike lacked the power to trouble Lewis King in the United goal.

Seconds before the interval, Boston almost doubled their lead.

Ben Milnes, fresh from his wonder strike at Barrow last weekend, fancied his chances from the edge of the penalty area. However, Green got down well and pushed the strike round his post.

The second half took a good 15 minutes to warm up. But when the match sprung back to life it was keeper Green whose hands were warmed up as he did well to stop Miller’s ferocious strike, which had more power than it did accuracy.

United then had two good penalty turned down as Weir-Daley appeared to be tripped by Jack Harris seconds before the Tigers defender seemed to handle inside the box.

A clash of heads changed Boston’s line-up on 70 minutes. Marshall and Konadu were both left floored after going for the same ball, Marshall being carried from the pitch on a stretcher and later taken to hospital by ambulance.

And with both unable to continue, Stefan Galinski and Indy Aujla entered the fray.

With the hosts still trying to find their composure, Gloucester’s Matt Groves broke free. But with just King to beat he scuffed his effort horribly off target.

United finally gave themselves some breathing space in the 90th minute when Miller finally got the better of Green... from the penalty spot.

After being tugged back by a desperate Will Morford, Miller pulled himself up off the turf to drive his strike down the middle.

Morford had a chance to redeem himself during the seven minutes of time added on, but he blasted an effort over the bar before McGhee did likewise at the other end.

And that was where the action ended, with United sitting pretty in fifth spot.

UNITED: King, McGhee, Marshall (Galinski 70), Dowie, Garner, Piergianni, Milnes, Konadu (Aujla 70), Miller, Weir-Daley (Fairclough 82), Agnew; Subs (not used): Ross, Hewitt.

GLOUCESTER: Green, Winters, Giglio (Morford 84), Coupe, Harris, Hanks, Hogg, Groves, Jarvis (Parker 60), Griffin, Gosling (Williamns 77); Subs (not used): Roome, Webb.

Ref: Paul Graham.

Att: 1,208.