BOSTON UNITED 2 TAMWORTH 0: The Day of the Jake Hall! TOWIE star nets with his first touch as Boston United edge closer to promotion dream

Jake Hall
Jake Hall

It was the day of the Jake Hall!

The substitute - better known these days for his starring role on The Only Way Is Essex - slotted home with his first touch of the afternoon to settle the nerves and help Boston United earn a 2-0 victory over Tamworth - taking the Pilgrims a giant step closer to a play-off finish.

Dayle Southwell.

Dayle Southwell.

Dayle Southwell was also on target, netting his 27th goal of the season with a fine individual effort.

United supporter Richard Maxwell scooped more than £53 million on the Euromillions last week... but even the 10th biggest UK Lotto winner of all time would have to admit that victory over Tamworth was priceless.

Mr Maxwell was the match sponsor for today’s crunch play-off clash with fellow promotion hopefuls Tamworth - something which had long been arranged and was a bizarre twist of fate in such an eventful week - and he could be forgiven for popping the champagne corks yet again as Dennis Greene’ side moved up to fourth, four points clear of the Lambs.

And if that wasn’t enough to celebrate, how about a thumbs up for the United defence who have now kept clean sheets in four of their last five contests.

A 10-match winning streak helped propel Tamworth from also-rans to promotion contenders back in December and January.

But since then the Lambs have struggled to find their feet.

Prior to kick off Tamworth had won just once in their previous five Vanarama North contests.

And on the road things have been just as tough, with Andy Morrell’s side picking up just two points in their past five matches, scoring once and shipping 10 goals.

Boston, by contrast, went into the match unbeaten in six - having won five of those contests.

Also in the stands near Mr Maxwell was The Only Way Is Essex star James ‘Arg’ Argent, in town to cheer on castmate Hall.

Hall - who recently shot to fame on TOWIE - linked up with the Pilgrims for a competitive match for the first time since last season and was named on the bench.

Leading scorer Southwell returned to the starting XI following Saturday’s goalless draw at Oxford City, meaning Marc Newsham began proceedings alongside Hall.

Tamworth’s squad included ex-Pilgrim Shane Clarke and Leon Mettam, both of whom opted to join the Lambs ahead of Boston in the summer.

The hosts began with purpose and Tamworth’s Rob Purdie was called upon to clear Dayle Southwell’s low effort off the line as early as the second minute.

Boston had plenty of thrust going forward in the early exchanges but couldn’t find a way of troubling James Belshaw’s goal.

Tamworth, like United, just couldn’t create shot on target in the first half hour.

They were, however, unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after a tangling of legs saw Kayden Jackson go down under Carl Piergianni’s challenge.

United began turning the screw a little more towards the end of the first half.

Southwell slipped Kaine Felix in but he couldn’t get the better of Belshaw or the offside flag, while Scott Garner - who had been holding nothing back from his challenges - was within a whisker of connecting with Kyle Dixon’s free kick.

But Southwell did make that breakthrough in the 44th minute with a moment of magic.

Picking the ball up out wide on the left-hand goalline, he cut inside, shrugged a challenge and blasted home from the tightest of angles to grab his 27th - and most important, to date - goal of the season.

Southwell was at it again after the break, forcing Belshaw to scramble away his dipping 25 yarder.

Piergianni then came within a whisker of doubling the advantage as he met Kyle Dixon’s corner, but with the Lambs stranded his free header struck the post.

And the woodwork was rattling again as Felix’s deflected cross landed on top of the bar. From the resultant corner Southwell’s snapshot was blocked and Felix’s follow up flew wide.

With a narrow lead, United knew Tamworth were far from out of the contest. So when Mettam lined up a free kick in front of the Town End, the hosts were thankful to see it fly high of the mark.

And when the Lambs forward looked through on goal a terriffic Liam Marrs block denied him.

With five minutes to go Hall made his mark.

Nicky Walker, who had joined thge action alongside Hall in the 84rd minute, broke down the left and squared for Hall to slot into the net from close range.

The goalscorer went wild. The crowd went wild.

As Dennis Greene quipped at full time through a raspy voice: “The only way is up.”

UNITED: Stryjek, Marrs, Steer, Mills, Garner, Piergianni, Felix, Dixon (Walker 83), Southwell (Hall 83), Jones (Newsham 56), Roberts; Subs (not used): Saebe, Price.

TAMWORTH: Belshaw, Purdie, D. Smith, James, C. Smith, Adams (Styche 84), Green (Taylor 81), Clarke, Hibbert (Mettam 60), Jackson, Thornton; Subs (not used): Trainer, Sampson.

Ref: Ollie Yates.

Att: 1,792.