Boston United 2 Stalybridge Celtic 2: Newsham scores goal number 25 to earn a draw

Marc Newsham.
Marc Newsham.

Marc Newsham struck his 25th goal of the season to salvage Boston United a point against Stalybridge Celtic.

The hosts twice took the lead, but goals from Spencer Weir-Daley and Newsham pegged them back... keeping the Pilgrims’ unbeaten record at home to Stalybridge in tact.

United made two changes from the side which lost 2-1 at promotion hopefuls Guiseley last week, Dan Lawlor and Paul Lister replacing Phil Watt and Keiran Walker.

The duo, along with Paul Mayo, made their home debuts.

The first chance of the afternoon was conjured up by Celtic’s Lewis Hatch.

After his quick feet and forward thinking saw him burst into the Pilgrims’ penalty area his weak shot failed to trouble Dan Haystead in the Boston goal.

Then, at the other end, came arguably the miss of the season for United.

Newsham found space in the box to drill a low ball across the face of goal where - six yards out - the usually-dependable Weir-Daley volleyed well over the crossbar.

Ben Milnes, for Boston, and Hatch, for Celtic, both let fly from long range before the visitors took a 17th-minute lead.

It was if United had learned nothing from the previous week’s defeat at Guiseley as - yet again - poor marking from a set-piece saw the Pilgrims go a goal down.

Not for the first time, the marking was slack and Haystead was helpless as Chris Hall powered home a header at the back post, connecting well with Callum Warburton’s corner.

But the lively Newsham came close to pulling the Pilgrims level just before the half-hour mark.

His flicked header was goalbound, but an athletic fingertip save from Alex Cairns - his first real action of the afternoon - saw him force the ball over his bar.

But Boston drew level five minutes before the break, Weir-Daley atoning for his earlier miss with a glancing header.

After Ben Milnes’ free kick was partially cleared by the away side, Lister hooked the ball back into the danger zone.

Nathan Stainfield flicked the ball on and there - almost on the goalline - was the goalscorer, to net his 10th of the campaign.

The old cliche says that just before half time is a good time to score.

But United rarely do things by the book and it was Celtic who used the interval to their advantage, regrouping before taking a 51st-minute lead.

And it was a moment of brilliance that saw them lead for a second time, Corey Gregory giving Haystead no chance with his sublime 25-yard strike.

However, they were in front for just 10 minutes as Marc Newsham swept home his 25th goal of the season for United.

Latching on to a long ball, he needed just one touch to see his effort squirm under the reach of Cairns.

The keeper should have done better, but Newsham’s heartfelt celebrations showed he didn’t care one bit.

Weir-Daley almost handed Boston the lead with a near-post strike, but Cairns somehow fumbled the ball round his post.

Boston won this fixture 3-2 last season, with Newsham scoring twice and Weir-Daley also on target.

The leading scorer had a late opportunity to see lightning strike twice, but he forced his close range header off target.

And in stoppage time, he rounded Cairns, only for Joel Bembo-Leta to clear on the line.

And with that went United’s last clear chance of collecting all three points.

UNITED: Haystead, Marshall, Mayo, Foster, Lister, Stainfield, Lawlor (Ross 59), Milnes, Weir-Daley, Newsham, Fairclough (Smith 76); Subs (not used): Watt, Ward, Walker.

STALYBRIDGE: Cairns, Bleau (Lees 56), Warburton, Platt, Bembo-Leta, Haywood, Buckley, Hatch (Wilkinson 72), Laird (Austin 58), Gregory, Hall; Subs (not used): Parkhouse, Pepper.

Att: 905.

Ref: Lee Betts.