BOSTON UNITED 3 HARROGATE TOWN 0: Beesley makes his mark in title race

Jake Beesley.
Jake Beesley.

Has Jake Beesley taken a huge step towards claiming a National League North winners’ medal?

The fired-up loanee opened his Boston United account as the Pilgrims all but ended Harrogate Town’s title dreams with a 3-0 victory.

And with Beesley’s parent club Salford City winning at Southport they opened up a six-point lead at the top of the table with two games left to play.

The Ammies could claim the title with a point against United on Saturday.

Beesley will be ineligible to feature in that game, but as he sits in the stands at Moor Lane he can relax after a job well done.

Beesley put in his best performance to date in an amber shirt, opening the scoring before Reece Thompson doubled the advantage.

Super sub Kabongo Tshimanga netted number three late on to ensure the club’s golden boot race is far from won.

His 14th of the season - all of them coming in the second half - sees him trail Ashley Hemmings by one with three games left to play.

But the hosts didn’t have it all their own way, George Willis making an early penalty save to deny Joe Leesley.

The Pilgrims took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room at half time, a scoreline that may shock many observers, but not those who know what Boston can do on the occasions they hit their stride.

In a half that was as entertaining as it was open, Leesley was gifted a golden opportunity to put Town ahead from the spot in the fourth minute.

George Thomson went down under Willis’ challenge, referee Alex Kirkley giving a shake of the head but pointing to the spot after assistant Richard Aspinall flagged for a foul.

Willis dived right and Leesley went down the middle, but the keeper’s trailing leg blocked the effort, the striker making a hash of the follow up and firing wide with the goal at his mercy.

Jake Wright rattled the hosts’ post before United found their stride, Brad Abbott firing over and Leesley heading Hemmings’ corner off the line as Craig Elliott’s side began causing problems.

Beesley opened the scoring as he threw himself at Hemmings’ inswinging corner, powering his header home from close range at the near post.

And that lead was doubled 10 minutes before the break as Jonathan Wafula - in for Ben Middleton who was unable to face his parent club - worked hard down the right to tee up Beesley.

His initial strike was blocked by James Belshaw, but Thompson was in the right place the loop the rebound over the keeper’s outstretched hand.

After such a high-tempo opening first half the second 45 failed to match as the shell-shocked Harrogate played with more urgency.

But with that came mistakes and United were happy to pick up scraps and play on the break.

Chances were few and far between, although Ryan Qualter lashed wildly wide for United and Thomson put a free kick over Willis’ bar.

Tshimanga scuffed a late effort wide of the Town goal before making the most of his second chance, slotting home after latching onto Stephen Brogan’s through ball.

UNITED: Willis, Clifton, Brogan, Thanoj, Keane, Qualter, Wafula (Withers 90), Abbott, Thompson (Tshimanga 81), Beesley (McGuire 90), Hemmings; Subs (not used): Hare, Smith.

HARROGATE: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Parker, Falkingham, Burrell, McCombe, Thomson, Emmett, Beck (Knowles 78), Wright, Leesley (Thewlis 59); Subs (not used): Kennedy, Agnew, Cracknell.

Ref: Alex Kirkley.

Att: 875 (61).