BRADFORD PA 1 BOSTON UNITED 3: High-five for superb Southwell

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Dayle Southwell struck twice as Boston United recorded their first league win at the Horsfall Stadium.

On the pitch where the Pilgrims won the UniBond play-off final in 2010, the striker slotted home a penalty and then conjured up a moment of magic to see the Pilgrims pick up all three points.

But in league action, United have only ever recorded three draws and one defeat down Cemetery Road.

Southwell has now seen his season’s tally move up to five goals while Zak Mills opened his account for the campaign.

United didn’t have everything their own way and trailed to Billy Priestley’s first-half header.

Indeed, both sides pulled off a number of desperate goalline blocks, but on the day United’s superiority prevailed.

Boston boss Dennis Greene made three changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Stalybridge Celtic last Saturday.

Matt Gledhill replaced Sam Vince between the sticks, while Conor Marshall returned to midfield and David Fallah was named in attack alongside Dayle Southwell.

Niall Doran and Michael Hollingsworth both dropped to the bench as Jamie McGhee, Jay Dowie and Marc Newsham remained on the injury list.

The Pilgrims had a claim for an early penalty turned down by referee Neil Sharp after Kaine Felix appeared to be clipped from behind by Bradford captain Nathan Hotte following a clever one-two between Zak Mills and Liam Marrs.

But if you thought the official’s decision was questionable, so was Chib Chilaka’s finishing at the other end.

A floated Bradford free kick had caused panic in the Pilgrims’ penalty area and, after Julian Banton’s close-range effort was blocked, the Park Avenue forward somehow poked wide from six yards out.

The damp, slick playing surface lent itself nicely to end-to-end football, with both sides revelling in pushing forward.

United’s Liam Marrs and Rene Steer both saw efforts blocked before a weak kick from Gledhill presented Chilaka with another opportunity, until Carl Piergianni’s vital block averted danger.

Billy Priestley broke the deadlock in the 28th minute as he was given time to head home Paul Walker’s corner.

United had a chance to bounce back almost instantly as Southwell saw an effort blocked by Ryan Qualter but, with keeper John Lamb grounded, Felix’s follow-up flew wide of the target.

Park Avenue could have doubled their advantage when Gledhill picked up Danny Meadows’ back pass inside his own area.

But from the resultant free kick, United’s wall did their job and diverted Chilaka’s strike.

Then came two moments involving Pilgrims captain Scott Garner - one at each end.

Firstly, he should have levelled the contest when he met Piergianni’s knock down inside the Bradford six yard box, but somehow he scooped over the crossbar.

But the skipper made amends almost instantly, pulling off a superb block when Danny Frost’s close-range effort looked ddestined for the net.

The all-action first half drew a close as Walker’s low free kick struck teammate Grant Black, but as the ball moved in the opposite direction of Gledhill’s dive it squirmed off target.

United pulled level in the 61st minute from Dayle Southwell’s penalty.

Seconds after Piergianni saw his prodded effort hacked off the Park Avenue goalline, Fallah was upended in the penalty area by Hotte.

And the United forward made no mistake with a low, drilled effort as Lamb guessed wrong.

If anything, United’s leveller appeared to spur Bradford into action, but a superb double block from Steer on the goalline somehow kept Chilaka at bay.

Suddenly, the game was turned on its head as United grabbed two goals in as many minutes.

With 67 minutes on the clock Lamb parried David Fallah’s close-range strike, but Mills was first to react and he forced the ball home on the slide.

Southwell appeared to have put the contest beyond doubt with a moment of trickery.

Having used his quick feet to skip past Qualter, the firward unleashed a forceful low effort which beat lamb from a tight angle.

Yet again Park Avenue came back, but yet again Chilaka saw a chance go begging as he headed Walker’s corner over when it appeared easier to find the target.

Gledhill then pulled off a great reaction stop to deny Scott Kerr, beating his drive away from goal.

At the death Steer pulled off yet another goalline blok, while United sub Michael Hollingsworth saw a cheeky 25-yard lob fall wide of the post.

BPA: Lamb, Black, James (Kerr 70), Priestley, Qualter, Banton, Rea, Hotte, Chilaka (Barraclough 75), Frost (Marshall 62), Walker; Subs (not used): Colbeck, Price.

UNITED: Gledhill, Mills, Steer, Marrs, Garner, Piergianni, Fallah, Marshall, Southwell, Felix (Hollingsworth 72), Meadows (Galinski 76); Subs (not used): Vince, Barlow, Doran.

Ref: Neil Sharp.

Att: 439.