BROWNE ON THE BALL: Boston United and Hyde prove yet again that you can take nothing for granted in football

Rene Steer is denied by O'Brien's save on Saturday.
Rene Steer is denied by O'Brien's save on Saturday.

There are previous matches between Boston United and Hyde which stand as reminders that you can take nothing for granted in football.

Before Saturday’s contest, the last time these two sides met - April 21, 2012 - then-manager Jason Lee stood in the bustling Ewen Fields tunnel, dodging Champagne and proclaiming that “Hyde are the team we want to emulate.”

The Tigers had just thrashed the Pilgrims 4-1 to be crowned Conference North champions and Lee was dreaming of creating a Boston side that could earn their place in non-league’s top tier.

Since that day Hyde’s downward spiral has been so dramatic that you can imagine Gerald Ratner offering his sympathies.

Last season the Tigers finished rock bottom of the Conference Premier, their return of 10 points and a goal difference of -81 inspiring the parody Twitter account called Have Hyde Won Yet?

And this season the slide looks to be continuing.

After Dayle Southwell’s treble earned the Pilgrims three points on Saturday, Hyde’s woeful record stands at three wins in their past 65 league matches - and those three victories have each come in separate seasons.

Almost four years to the day before Lee’s tunnel talk, the Pilgrims were given their own reminder about how cruel football can be.

United ended their 2007-08 campaign with a 2-1 victory over Hyde, thanks to goals from Jon Froggatt and Simon Weaver, but it was what happened before kick off that day which sticks in the memory.

Taking to the pitch with a microphone in hand, chairman David Newton addressed the United fans, encouraging them to ‘have a party’ - his polite way of suggesting supporters savour the moment because the combination of mounting bills and an impatient Inland Revenue could mean this was the last match the club ever played.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. Fortunately, despite an enforced demotion, Boston United lived on and managed to entertain us with yet another completely bonkers game on Saturday.

This was a contest where the two full backs played as wingers.

This was a match where a central midfielder was asked to deputise at full back, where he added two assists before finishing out his day in goal and making two vital saves.

This was a fixture where the home team’s keeper saw red for booting an opponent with the game all but won.

This was a game where a striker netted a 25-minute hat-trick and was still pipped to the man-of-the-match award by an uncompromising yet bang-in-form central midfielder who has only made two starts in the past seven matches.

This was 90-plus minutes of football crazier than watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest while wearing your underpants on your head with two pencils up your nose and responding to questions with the word ‘wibble’.

But boy, wasn’t it entertaining? Entertainment has been the one thing missing from United’s matches in the past couple of weeks.

Fans can generally accept defeat a whole lot more when their team has given their all, but when defeats are coupled with below-par performances the murmurings rightly begin.

There has been a certain sense of doom and gloom around York Street in recent weeks, but Saturday’s performance seems to have lifted the spirits somewhat.

Hyde may not be the greatest opponents, but sometimes you need a win like that to rebuild confidence on and off the pitch.

And suddenly things change. Suddenly, Boston are just two points off fifth place. Suddenly the scoring form is back. Suddenly things aren’t so bad after all.

United and Hyde are proof you can take nothing for granted, but also evidence that football will blow your mind when you least expect it to.