Boston United 3 Harrogate Town 3: Honours shared in a game of two halves

Marc Newsham.
Marc Newsham.

Boston United let a 3-0 half-time lead slip as they drew at home to Harrogate Town.

Marc Newsham hit a brace and Spencer Weir-Daley was also on target in an opening 45 minutes where the Pilgrims were at their free-flowing best.

However, the second 45 half saw subs Liam Hardy and Dominic Rowe both net within a three-minute spell.

And late on Dayle Southwell converted from the spot, after Netan Sansara saw red.

Manager Dennis Greene made four changes to the Pilgrims side which were knocked out of the FA Cup at Brackley last Saturday.

Former Arsenal trainee Rene Steer made his debut at left back and Indy Aujla was granted his first start in midfield.

Right back Peter Bore and striker Weir-Daley also returned to the starting line-up as Netan Sansara, Ben Milnes, Stefan Galinski and Ben Fairclough dropped to the bench.

The first chance of the afternoon fell to the feet of Harrogate’s Southwell - the teenage striker on loan from Grimsby Town. But Peter Bore’s block kindly took the sting out of the strike and Ashley Timms comfortably gathered.

If anything, that effort only gave the hosts the nudge they needed.

Steer’s first contribution of note was to whip in a delightful free kick, which Scott Garner met at the back post but powered over the crossbar.

But there was no time to dwell on that moment as Marc Newsham’s moment of brilliance handed the Pilgrims an 11th-minute lead.

Ricky Miller forced his way to the by-line and dinked in a cross which Newsham met at the near post, before a clever flick guided the ball past the stranded Craig MacGillivray in into the net.

Weir-Daley saw a 20-yard strike deflected off target before Newsham grabbed his second of the afternoon from the penalty spot.

Dwayne Samuels thought he was making a routine clearance on the edge of his penalty area when Jake Hall nipped in first, took the ball and was upended by the Town full back.

Ref Neil Hare pointed to the spot and, with 23 minutes on the clock, Newsham beat MacGillivray with a low and powerful drive.

Weir-Daley made it comfortable in the 28th minute with a cleverly-placed finish.

In the week where manager Greene had said he wanted to see more link-up play from Miller, the striker turned provider for the second time within half an hour.

After breaking the offside trap, he slipped in Weir-Daley, who steadied himself with his first touch and beat the Town keeper with his second, a neat curler from 16 yards out.

Harrogate almost reduced the arrears when Leigh Franks’ drive looked to have beaten Timms, but Steer was in the right place to clear.

Before the interval Carl Piergianni beat MacGillivray to a long ball into the box, but despite his direction being correct the angles weren’t quite and the ball squirmed off off the bar.

And with virtually the final action of the opening half, Timms pulled off a superb double stop to keep the advantage to three.

Rushing off his goalline, the keeper made himself big to block Adam Bolder’s strike before chucking his frame in front of Hall’s follow up.

Harrogate made three cha nges at the interval, with Liam Hardy, Cleveland Taylor and Craig Nelthorpe replacing Bolder, Michael Woods and Anton Brown.

Hardy had already seen a cross-shot fly off target before he found the net with a low 68th-minute strike from inside the penalty area after Boston failed to clear a corner.

And three minutes later it was game on again as Rowe saw a 30-yard screamer curl beyond the stranded Timms.

In between those two goals, United’s Miller saw a 20-yarder whizz off target.

But with five minutes to go Town were level.

Sansara was red carded for a high challenge on Franks and Southwell duly dispatched the spot kick.

A game of two halves? Definitely.

UNITED: Timms, Bore, Steer, Marshall (Galinski 90), Garner, Piergianni, Aujla (Milnes 75), Hall, Miller (Sansara 75), Newsham, Weir-Daley; Subs (not used): Fairclough.

HARROGATE: MacGillivray, Samuels, Merris, Bolder (Nelthorpe HT), Franks, Killock, Nowakowski, Brown (Hardy HT), Southwell, Woods Rowe HT), Hall; Subs (not used): Rowe, Worsfield.

Ref: Neil Hair.

Att: 921.