BOSTON UNITED 3 ALFRETON TOWN 1: That’s the way to do it! Pilgrims are off the mark

Jordan Keane.
Jordan Keane.

Adam Murray demanded a reaction. And Boston United delivered.

Goals from Mason Warren, Jordan Keane and Gregg Smith saw the Pilgrims pick up their opening win of the National League North season by putting Alfreton to the sword.

In stark contrast to Saturday’s 4-0 thumping at Southport, the defence looked stoic and strong, the midfield solid and, in attack, Boston played with the fluency and freedom which was lacking at the weekend.

And when the Reds did find themselves with chances to threaten they were guilty of some poor finishing, ensuring it was unlucky 13 as their York Street record now stands at 11 defeats and two draws.

Murray made four changes. In came Tom Batchelor, Tyrell Waite, Warren and Smith as Karl Hawley, Taron Hare and Jamie McGuire dropped to the bench.

Harry Vince, who also started on Saturday, joined Jack Broadhead on the injury list.

Gregg Smith.

Gregg Smith.

It was Waite and Warren - the two unused substitutes on Saturday - who combined to give the Pilgrims a 16th-minute lead.

Waite burst down the left, cut into the box and clipped a low cross across the face of goal, where Reds keeper Chris Elliott stretched for the ball, fumbled and gifted Warren the simplest of tap-ins.

The lead was short lived, five minutes in fact, as Craig Westcarr prodded Alfreton level after being afforded too much space and time in the United box.

But it was Boston who finished the half on top, Elliott tipping Warren’s 25-yarder wide and seeing Smith’s acrobatic volley sail beyond his post before Keane reinstated United’s lead against his former club.

Mason Warren.

Mason Warren.

James Clifton’s corner picked out the unmarked Waite on the edge of the penalty area. Elliott parried his fizzing strike but Keane was in the right place to slot home.

And it could have been three on the stroke of half time but Elliott again got behind the ball and forced Brad Beatson’s thumping drive away from danger.

Alfreton looked to force their way level again after the break with Chris Sharp’s header lacking direction and Sam Topliss’ corner skimming the Pilgrims crossbar on the way out.

At the other end, Ashley Hemmings’ 25-yard bender flew the wrong side of the Reds’ woodwork.

The scores should have been level when Billy Whitehouse twisted his way beyond Beatson and chipped the ball to the unmarked Brody Robertson, but from seven yards out the Reds man somehow forced his free header wide.

Hemmings again went close with a free kick which sailed wide of the mark after Craig Disley had upended Kabongo Tshimanga.

Smith gave United some breathing space in the 77th minute as he found the net with a diving header, meeting another Clifton delivery and signing off in style ahead of his three game ban.

Robertson was guilty of another glaring miss when he broke free on goal but stabbed wide after beating George Willis to the ball.

And that was as close as Alfreton got to reducing the arrears as United got their campaign properly up and running.

UNITED: Willis, Clifton, Beatson, Keane, Batchelor, Cowgill, Waite (Hare 83), Chapman, Smith, Hemmings, Warren (Tshimanga 67); Subs (not used): McGuire, Hawley, Adams.

ALFRETON: Elliott, Topliss, Allan, Platt, Shiels, Priestley, Jennings, Disley, Westcarr (Robertson 67), Johnson (Sharp 55), Marshall (Whitehouse 61); Subs (not used): McGowan, Nyoni.

Att: 1,107 (47)

Ref: Anthony Tankard.