BOSTON UNITED 5 HARROGATE TOWN 2: All’s well that ends with Southwell

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Who saw that coming after five minutes? Boston United dished out a free lesson in spirit, desire and determination as they came from 2-0 down to hammer Harrogate Town 5-2.

It was the Pilgrims’ first-ever victory over Town at home, at the sixth attempt. It was a result which ended their opponents’ six-game unbeaten run against Boston. It was a scoreline which stopped Harrogate’s five-game unbeaten run in the Vanarama North, which began with their 2-1 victory at Wetherby Road earlier this season.

But most importantly of all, it was a result which cast those defeats at Fylde and Guiseley to the back of the mind and put Boston’s play-off push back on the right track.

Two early defensive lapses saw Simon Weaver’s side storm into a commanding 2-0 lead, but Boston United are a relentless beast at the Jakemans Stadium, scoring five goals for the fifth time in six home contests.

Dayle Southwell claimed the match ball as he netted his second hat-trick of the season, taking his tally to 23 goals in the process, while Mark Jones bagged a brace in yet another unforgetable afternoon down York Street.

United manager Dennis Greene handed a debut to keeper Max Stryjek, the stopper becoming the latest product of the Sunderland youth system to begin a loan stint with the Pilgrims.

The Polish youngster is no stranger to the Jakemans Stadium, having played there with a Black Cats XI in pre-season.

And with Sam Vince - who had kept goal for the past two matches - injured, his presence was an added bonus.

With Conor Marshall, Jamie McGhee, Zak Mills also reporting injuries, the Pilgrims could only name four substitutes prior to kick off.

This was hardly a dream debut for Stryjek, the keeper picking the ball out of his net twice within the opening five minutes, even though on both occasions he was left horribly exposed by his defence.

Louie Swain fired Town into a second-minute lead as - with the United defence stretched - Liam Marrs’ attempted clearance rebounded off the left back, landing kindly for him before he found the net via Stryjek’s near post.

That lead was doubled when Paul Clayton’s clever glancing header met Leigh Franks’ long throw and nestled in the net.

With 10 minutes on the clock Harrogate keeper Peter Crook even had the temerity to waste a bit of time before taking his goal kick.

But just 18 minutes later the game was turned on its head as Boston took the lead following a thrilling three-goal salvo.

Southwell - who equalised for Harrogate during the 3-3 draw in this fixture last season - swept home Kaine Felix’s cross to begin the comeback on 19 minutes.

It was a goal which owed plenty to the speed and agility of Felix, who collected the ball on the halfway line, flicked beyond Swain and - from a position where all seemed lost - accelerated to the byline before playing in an inviting square ball.

The winger offered more of the same for Jones’ equaliser.

Once again, Felix put in a testing cross which was bundled over the line off the chest of Jones... who had incidentally opened his Pilgrims account with a late consolation in Boston’s 2-1 defeat at Wetherby Road.

Harrogate were appealing for their third of the afternoon after Jordan Thewlis was convinced his effort had crossed the line.

Ryan Fallowfield skipped beyond Marrs and Scott Garner too easily down the left flank before reaching the byline and cutting back to his striker, but after Thewlis’ strike squirmed under the body of Stryjek, the keeper grabbed the ball at the second opportunity.

After collecting the ball the Pole turned defence into attack, hurling the ball out to Nicky Walker to begin the move which ended in Jones slotting home his second of the afternoon, taking his tally to eight goals in eight games.

From the re-start Southwell missed a golden opportunity to extend the hosts’ lead as he headed Felix’s cross over from four yards out.

But he made amends in the 53rd minute by grabbing his second of the afternoon.

After Crook fumbled Carl Piergianni’s header from Walker’s corner, the poacher was there to prod through the legs of the keeper.

Crook did scoop the ball back into play but, by then, the ball had crossed the line and Boston had a two-goal advantage.

And Southwell made it five as he completed his hat-trick in the 66th minute.

Cutting in from the right hand side he left Crook standing with a tight-angled lob which was as casual as it was exquisite.

The forward could have grabbed his fourth when he rounded Crook, but this time Southwell’s angles were wrong.

Walker then forced a chance over at full stretch after connecting with debutant Louis Saebe’s pass.

Into stoppage time, Stryjek was called into action to save James Walshaw’s free kick, but by then it was all over.

UNITED: Stryjek, Marrs, Garner, Piergianni, Steer, Felix (Saebe 82), K. Dixon (Hollingsworth 82), Roberts, Walker, Southwell (Newsham 82), Jones; Sub (not used): Price.

HARROGATE: Crook, Franks, McGurk (Nowakowski 38), Shiels, Turner, Fallowfield, Nyoni, Swain, Thewlis (Walshaw 60), Clayton (Worsfield 60) , Emmett; Subs (not used): Rowe, Bloomer.

Ref: Lloyd Wood.

Att: 1,138.