BOSTON UNITED 3 FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER 1: Pilgrims keep the Rebels in line with first-half firepower

Jordan Richards.
Jordan Richards.

A first-half display of pace, power and precision saw Boston United extend their unbeaten run to five matches at the expense of FC United of Manchester.

Prior to kick off you could be excused for thinking the fixture was a mismatch as the Pilgrims - with 10 points from their previous four contests - came out of the tunnel alongside their guests who hadn’t mustered a single point or goal from as many league outings.

Although Boston didn’t have things their own way for the entire contest, a blistering opening 20 m inutes saw them dominate their rivals, take a 2-0 lead and lay the foundations for the confidence to grow.

Dayle Southwell, Jordan Richards - netting his first goal for the club - and Carl Piergianni may have got their names on the scoresheet, but this afternoon’s victory - Boston’s fifth in six meetings between the two opponents - was yet again earned by all of those in amber and black.

With little more than six minutes played, Piergianni had already seen two efforts hacked off the line by the Rebels’ defence as Boston took the game to the league newcomers.

Both opportunities came from Grant Roberts corners, the first a header which was cleared by the knee of Jerome Wright and the second, after the defender was granted time to control the ball, a toe poke which he couldn’t squeeze beyond Sam Sheridan.

Southwell was next to try his luck, his fierce determination enough to see him outmuscle defender Nia Bayunu, only to prod his volley wide of the onrushing David Carnell.

However, Southwell did get the better of the FC United keeper in the 10th minute, sending him the wrong way from the penalty spot after Carnell’s arm had tripped Mark Jones, giving referee Lee Betts the simplest of decisions.

It was Southwell’s 11th goal in 16 National League North contests and nothing more than Boston had deserved from their early pressure.

That lead was doubled just three minutes later as Richards opened his Pilgrims account.

Another Roberts corner caused havoc in the away side’s box, but just as the team in red appeared to have cleared their lines, the on-loan Notts County teenager unleashed a drive from the edge of the area which evaded all in the packed penalty area and found the roof of the net.

Carnell kept his side in the contest with a firm save to deny Ryan Robbins as the Boston striker looked to finish off a powerful and direct run which saw him collect the ball on the halfway line, turn and beat three men as he bore down on goal.

But despite Boston’s pressure, FC United were by no means out of the game as they continued to surge forward in the hope of finding an opening.

Sheridan was given an opportunity from a free kick, just yards outside the hosts’ penalty area, but his effort didn’t have enough dip to land under Henrich Ravas’ bar after beating the wall.

Matthew Wolfenden finally broke Boston’s resolve in the 45th minute as, awarded space, his low drive ruffled the home side’s net... his side’s first goal in five league matches.

But Boston had the final say of the half as Piergianni headed home his fifth goal of the season via the inside of Carnell’s post after meeting Dylan McEvoy’s whipped free kick.

The hosts began the second side by piling on yet more pressure, but Carnell toppes Southwell’s strike over the bar, the same place where Jones’ flick and Kyle Dixon’s 20-yarder ended up.

The Rebels had a shout for a penalty when Greg Daniels got goalside of Zak Mills and went down in the box, but Betts signalled for play to continue.

The final 30 minutes were drab in comparison to the opening hour, with chances few and far between at both ends, Nicky Walker’s free kick being turned away by Carnell the only real flashpoint.

But as the skies dimmed and the clock ticked down, Boston’s quest for promotion to non-league’s top division continued to gain momentum.

UNITED: Ravas, Marrs, McEvoy, Richards, Garner, Piergianni, Roberts (Dixon 51), Mills (Walker 77), Southwell, Jones, Robbins (Simmons 63); Subs (not used): Sarpong, Johnson.

FC UNITED: Carnell, Brownhill, Daniels (Madeley 77), Sheridan, Ashworth, Bayunu, Wolfenden, Byrne (Patterson 67), Greaves, Wright, Fallon (Stott 67); Subs (not used): Thurston, Lindfield.

Ref: Lee Betts.

Att: 1,789 (379).