BEN Fairclough netted a brace as Boston United brought Chester FC’s unbeaten start to the Blue Square Bet North season to an abrupt end.
The little winger broke the Blues’ record, but kept his own unique run going.
The Pilgrims have never lost when Fairclough has found the net for them, and that continued, despite a brave fightback from the visitors.
Saturday showcased both the very best and worst of United.
By half time they had stormed to a deserved 3-0 lead as they made Chester look like shadows of the side which had won their opening seven contests.
But a minute of madness after the break saw the defence exposed as the visitors netted twice, suddenly making the lead a lot less comfortable.
After riding waves of early pressure from the visitors, Boston took the lead with the first meaningful attack of the game.
Spencer Weir-Daley created the opportunity with a moment of brilliance, his clever backheel setting Jason Stokes free.
The wingers drive was blocked by John Danby.
But as the ball spilled loose, Fairclough fired in from a tight angle, despite George Horan’s efforts to clear on the goal line.
Ben Mills had a chance to draw level almost immediately, but got his angles horribly wrong from close range after being chased down by Pilgrims keeper Dan Haystead.
A good delivery from Stokes presented Marc Newsham with a headed chance, but his looping effort didn’t have enough height to outsmart Danby.
But his effort soon became an irrelevance as Boston added two more in two minutes.
Firstly, Fairclough doubled his tally.
Latching onto a long punt from Newsham, his pace saw him get to the ball ahead of the onrushing Danby.
But he still had plenty of work to do, setting himself before curling in from 25 yards out on the left byline.
Boston’s fans only had a matter of seconds to let the goal sink in before they were in dreamland again.
Ben Milnes won a crunching tackle before playing a one-two with Weir-Daley, calmly dinking the ball over Danby.
Mills almost pulled a goal back before the break, but a superb reflex save from Haystead saw him tip over from close range.
However, the match was tuned on its head after the break.
Sub Iain Howard had only been on a matter of minutes before he scored twice in the space of 60 seconds.
Firstly, he capitalised on poor Boston defending to volley home unmarked from six yards out.
His second goal was an angled drive which again exposed the Pilgrims’ back line after a solid opening first half.
After another spell of Chester pressure, Boston again found their heads and calmed things down.
In fact, United created a few further chances, the pick of the bunch being Weir-Daley’s near-post header and Ian Ross’ curling left-footed effort.
But neither found the net.
A free kick close to the edge of United’s penalty area granted Chester a fine opportunity with 10 minutes remaining.
But Haystead again pulled off a fine stop to deny Paul Linwood.
And seconds later Linwood was in the ref’s book.
With Fairclough running at pace and knocking the ball ahead of the defender, the Chester man blatantly stopped play by poleaxing the attacker.
And that’s how the second half continued, with Chester playing the ball long but unable to penetrate United’s now steadfast defence.
That first 45 minutes was Boston United at their brilliant best.
Now they must try to replicate it regularly.
CHESTER: Danby, Baynes, McGinn, Horan, Linwood, Mackin (Powell 65), Hankin, Sarcevic, M. Williams (Jarman HT), Mills, A. Williams (Howard HT); Subs (not used): Powell, Collins, Clancy.
Ref: John Brooks.