BOSTON UNITED 3 CHORLEY 1: New signings sweep Magpies off their feet in Valentine’s victory

Lewis Hilliard.
Lewis Hilliard.

It may not quite have been love at first sight, but plenty of Boston United fans would have left the Jakemans Stadium with a Valentine’s crush on Adam Chapman and Jan Yeomans.

The two new signings struck within eight minutes of one another to turn the contest on its head.

Chapman tucked away his first goal for the club from the penalty spot to cancel out Jake Cottrell’s neat finish, before full back Yeomans marked his debut in style - smashing home a loose ball to give the hosts the advantage.

The icing on the cake came from Lewis Hilliard who powered home a low 18-yard drive to get the goal his sublime performance deserved.

Not one of Adam Murray’s match day squad was involved in that heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to the Magpies in the play-off semi-finals two seasons ago.

It would not have registered with any of the team that this was Boston’s first victory over Chorley in seven attempts.

But what mattered was that the Pilgrims were back to winning ways after a recent slump in form, refusing to let Chorley’s early goal get them down, and keeping their cool at times when tempers threatened to boil over in a game which was not short of a bit of argy bargy.

And it also meant that the hosts’ 100 per cent record at home on a Tuesday night remains, now standing at five wins from five games.

Adam Murray was left fuming after his side’s capitulation against Harrogate Town, promising to ‘tear it down and start again’ unless things improved.

The Pilgrims manager made four changes, handing a debut to full back Yeomans and a first start to player-coach Karl Hawley, while reinstating Hilliard and Alex Simmons.

Kalern Thomas - who had previously played every minute under Murray - dropped to the bench, along with Ben Gordon and Callum Chippendale, while Richard Brodie wasn’t named in the squad.

Chorley began the stronger with Scott Leather heading wide and Dale Whitham’s cross rebounding off the crossbar.

Ross Durrant was called into action to deny Adam Blakeman’s swerving effort before Boston got into gear, the impressive Hilliard - the middleman whose quick thinking and vision was creating quick attacks - setting Jay Rollins with two defence-splitting passes.

But on both occasions the angle favoured Ritchie Branagan, who held on to the strikes.

Cottrell broke the deadlock with his well-placed strike, bent beyond the dive of Durrant, but the hosts response was to see Simmons’ free kick whizz in ches wide of Branagan’s near post.

Durrant was back in action to hold onto Will Beesley’s header and Blakeman’s deadball strike while, at the other end, Hawley’s clipped effort didn’t have the height to beat the Magpies’ stopper.

Boston almost drew level in freakish circumstances minutes into the second half, Adam Chapman’s 40-yard free kick creeping past everyone in a crowded box until Branagan made a reaction save, blocking with an outstretched arm before scooping the ball up.

But 10 minutes into the second period Chapman got that goal from the penalty spot, sending Branagan the wrong way after Kieran Charnock tripped Josh Robinson in the box.

And Boston were in front soon afterwards.

As the hosts built momentum, Tom Batchelor saw a header saved before further pressure from another corner created a scrap for the ball, Yeomans drilling home from close range.

Hilliard made it 3-1 with 74 minutes on the clock, drilling a powerful 18 yarder low beyond Branagan at his near post as the once-stoic Chorley defence fell apart.

Back came Chorley, waves of pressure and balls into the Boston box posing threats but being dealt with by the steadfast defence and ever-improving Durrant.

As Chorley made their three substitutions Adam Roscoe remained on the bench.

There were no stoppage time overhead kick equalisers on this occasion, just three much-needed and well-deserved points for United.

UNITED: Durrant, Gatter, Robinson, Batchelor, Yeomans, Clarke, Chapman, Hilliard (Chippendale 90), Rollins, Hawley, Simmons (Thomas 80); Subs (not used): Gordon, Fitzpatrick, Brown.

CHORLEY: Branagan, Challoner, Beesley, Teague, Leather (McDaid 64), Charnock, Blakeman, Whitham (O’Keefe 76), Carver, Sampson (Myers 84), Cottrell; Subs (not used): Azam, Myers.

Ref: Richard Wild.

Att: 807 (32).