BOSTON UNITED 3 TAMWORTH 0: What crisis? Pilgrims put the Lambs to the slaughter

Waide Fairhurst.
Waide Fairhurst.

That’s the way to do it! Boston United brushed aside their stuttering start to the season by putting the Lambs to the slaughter.

Waide Fairhurst, Lamin Colley and Lewis Hilliard got their names on the scoresheet as rock bottom beat joint-top Tamworth in this National League North encounter.

And it could have been more had the Pilgrims’ penalty curse not returned, Grant Roberts this time unable to convert after Steve Tomassen was sent off for pulling the midfielder to the ground with little more than half an hour played.

Unbeaten Tamworth may have been hot favourites prior to kick off, but they arrived at the Jakemans Stadium having never won in Boston, and not recording a league win over their opponents in 18 years.

They also came across a side which finally clicked.

After three dismal defeats, Dennis Greene’s side showed signs of the potential which had excited the manager so much in pre-season.

It was a real team effort, with those in amber and black putting their frames on the line to repel some promising Tamworth attacks.

Finally some desire and determination. At last a clean sheet.

Christian Dibble fully deserved his shut out with a series of brilliant blocks, while opposite number James Belshaw put in a performance which didn’t deserve the ignomity of pulling the ball from his net three times.

Greene made four changes to the side which horribly underperformed at Darlington on Saturday.

Herve Pepe-Ngoma, Kalern Thomas and Jay Rollins all picked up knocks in that 4-1 defeat and were added to the ever-growing injury list which also includes ex-Lamb Shane Clarke and Nat Brown, while Callum Chippendale dropped down to the bench.

In came Hilliard, Courtney Wildin, Ollie Price and Marcus Marshall, the latter two shrugging off injuries of their own.

It had taken more than 270 minutes of the season for the Pilgrims to record their first goal, Rollins’ late consolation at the weekend.

But within five minutes Boston were in front, Fairhurst using his strength to twice shrug off challenges from Jack Lane before setting himself and drilling a composed low finish beyond Belshaw and into the far corner of the net.

That goal came at a cost for the hosts as Fairhurst stabbed his foot into the ground while shooting and was replaced by Colley.

However, Boston were in front for the first time this season, and they weren’t going to give that up without a fight.

Suddenly there was a sense of fight in the defence, Dibble pulling off two wonderful first-half saves to keep his side in front.

After using his legs to deny Danny Newton, he then frustrated the same player again by clawing away a powerful close-range header.

In between those two chances, United rode their luck with the Lambs twice rattling Dibble’s crossbar.

Marshall’s attempts to dribble his way out of danger on the edge of his own box saw possession lost and the ball swept out to Connor Taylor, whose curler beat Dibble but not the woodwork.

Ross Dyer’s hopeful looping header met the same fate, while Gregg Smith’s powerful defensive header and Price’s body block emphasised that early eagerness for Boston to finally get points on the board.

United had a golden opportunity to double their advantage 10 minutes before the break when Tomassen pulled Roberts to the ground.

The Tamworth defender was shown red by Declan Bourne before Roberts, taking over spot kick duties following Colley’s fluffed effort on the opening day of the campaign, hit his effort true enough but Belshaw’s firm hand diverted the ball onto the bar and over.

The second half began with both sides flashing low strikes inches wide of the mark, Jason St Juste going close for Boston and Jed Davies the Lamb left with his head in his hands.

Newton again went close to an equaliser but could only blast over after meeting Dyer’s knock down.

Belshaw again kept his side in the game with another tremendous save, clawing away Colley’s full-stretch toe-poke on the line.

From the resultant corner, the ball beat all in the box until Colley blazed over, again from close range.

Wildin was called upon to maintain United’s advantage as he stopped Joe Clarke’s effort on the goalline, before Dibble was in the thick of the action again, getting down well to save Ellis Deeney’s volley, after his initial free kick struck the wall.

Colley finally gave the Pilgrims a cushion in the 68th minute.

Joe Burgess’ long throw was allowed to bounce in the penalty area, the Gambian striker using his frame to gain space before blasting his close range effort beyond the helpless Belshaw.

Four minutes later and it was three, Hilliard showing some quick feet before placing a low strike in off the far post.

Tamworth looked done for as Cameron Johnson, with his fresh legs off the bench, enjoyed some space down the flanks and twice went close.

But Dibble still had to be alert to earn that clean sheet, tipping Boston old boy Greg Mills’ effort over and saving Andy Morrell’s header from the following corner.

That’s more like it.

UNITED: Dibble, Burgess, Maguire, Price, Wildin (Johnson 75), Marshall, Roberts, Hilliard, St Juste (Chippendale 67), Fairhurst (Colley 7), Smith; Subs (not used): Adams, Emery.

TAMWORTH: Belshaw, Burns, Breslin, Deeney, Tomassen, Lane (Ezewele 15), Taylor (Mills 69), Clarke, Newton (Morrell 69), Dyer, Davies; Subs (not used): Smith, Briscoe.

Ref: Declan Bourne.

Att: 965 (33).