BOSTON UNITED 3 ALFRETON TOWN 2: Smith and Agnew strike late to turn contest on its head

Jay Rollins.
Jay Rollins.

Boston United scored twice in the final four minutes to somehow turn defeat into victory against Alfreton Town.

In one of the most jaw-dropping finales you’ll see this season, Liam Agnew and Gregg Smith struck at the death to transform the Pilgrims’ fortunes.

It appeared that former keeper Fabian Spiess had returned to haunt his old club with a string of brilliant saves.

But all his hard work was undone by a few minutes of madness by those who were meant to be guarding him.

Agnew tucked home an 89th-minute penalty to level things up before Smith headed home home his third goal in as many games to seal a memorable fightback which left the Jakemans Stadium rocking.

The Reds players surrounded referee Matthew Buonassisi after the final whistle to vent their frustrations, but that defeat was their own doing.

In the final minute Niall Heaton was adjudged, perhaps harshly, to have fouled Cameron Johnson in the box.

Defender Sam Edmundson’s protestations saw him red carded before Agnew sent another spot kick down the middle.

And four minutes later, without Edmundson there to carry out his defensive duties, Smith rose highest to meet Agnew’s cross and loop a header over the dive of Spiess.

Jay Rollins was also on target for the hosts while Craig Westcarr and Ryan Wilson, who thought they were the matchwinners, had to settle for consolation goals.

Waide Fairhurst and Joe Burgess put their recent injury troubles behind them to return to the Pilgrims’ starting XI.

Jack McMillan dropped to the bench while Herve Pepe-Ngoma, whose knee popped out of place during Saturday’s draw at Stockport County, joined the home side’s long list of walking wounded.

Kalern Thomas, who himself returned from injury to make an appearance from the bench at Edgeley Park, was not risked after a tightening of his hamstring.

With just 10 minutes on the clock Spiess pulled off a wonderful reaction save to deny former teammate Rollins.

After meeting Jason St Juste’s cross, Rollins’ volley looked goalbound until the keeper stuck out a hand and guided the ball away from danger.

Town responded through Wilson, whose swerving effort fizzed inches high of Dion-Curtis Henry’s bar.

Chances were hard to come by for the majority of the first half, but Boston thought they had taken the lead when Rollins forced Gregg Smith’s knockdown into the Town net, only for a raised flag to deny them the opener.

Almost instantly, the Reds charged down the other end, Westcarr shrugging off Joe Maguire to slot home a 37th-minute opener.

That lead could have been doubled seconds before the interval were it not for Henry’s impressive double save, pushing away Wilson’s goalbound corner and tipping Sam Smith’s follow up round his post.

Ollie Price replaced Burgess at the interval and was instantly in the thick of the action, throwing his frame into Westcarr’s strike to divert the ball wide.

Rollins pulled United level in the 56th minute, forcing the loose ball home on virtually the goalline after St Juste charged into the penalty area and saw his low drive squirm beyond Spiess.

But the Reds were back in front five minutes later.

St Juste blocked Adam Priestley’s effort on the goalline but his clearance was cut out by Wilson, who smashed a low drive home from 25 yards out.

After five games out of favour Lamin Colley had a point to prove when he replaced Marcus Marshall.

Some quick feet saw him get into a shooting position but he dragged his effort wide of the mark.

Moments later he forced a save from Spiess from a tight angle.

The Alfreton keeper continued to come to his side’s rescue, saving Fairhurst’s 20 yarder and Liam Agnew’s curled effort, after the skipper was cleverly teed up by Colley.

Colley was then first to Agnew’s corner, but headed wide when well placed.

And then, somehow, the contest was turned on its head.

Another Tuesday night at the Jakemans, another three points for Boston.

UNITED: Henry, Marshall (Colley 63), Maguire, Robinson, St Juste, Burgess (Price HT), Agnew, Hilliard, Rollins, Fairhurst (Johnson 85), Smith; Subs (not used): McMillan, Wildin.

ALFRETON: Spiess, Allan, Jordan, Heaton, McGowan, Wilson, Edmundson, Smith (Clayton 60), Monkhouse, Priestley (Garnett 70), Westcarr (Kennedy 90); Subs (not used): Ottley.

Ref: Matthew Bounassisi.

Att: 926 (40).