BROWNE ON THE BALL: Boston United’s season over? I wouldn’t be too sure

Dennis Greene.
Dennis Greene.

The Pilgrims may have lost half of their opening 12 league games, but history argues this season is not over just yet, says Duncan Browne...

Come off it Dennis. Have a look at the league table will you?

On these very pages in the Boston Standard this week, Pilgrims manager Dennis Greene has been quoted - correctly, I must add - as saying that his squad’s main aim for the season is still to clinch a play-off spot in the National League North.

Of course, your first reaction is probably to raise an eyebrow. Next you may scratch your chin. Then you’ll perhaps turn to the league table, see the side sit in 12th, and give your head a little shake.

On the surface, United’s season appears over.

Six defeats in the opening eight matches is by no means the form of a side thinking about promotion.

No team will ever finish top five after a start like that, surely? It’s like wheelspinning onto the gravel in the first corner of a Grand Prix.

Well, you may be shocked to learn that last season one team did make it into the play-offs after losing 50 per cent of their opening 12 games.

That team was Boston United.

Yep, that side - now all but dismantled - had the same amount of ticks in the L column as this current crop of Pilgrims at the same stage 12 months ago.

In fact, as one kind emailer asked me to do last week, look at the league stats and notice the two seasons haven’t started too differently.

After 12 games so far, United have 14 points (W4 D2 L6) compared to 16 at this stage a year ago (W5 D1 L6).

This current defence which has come in for so much criticism - often justified, in fairness - has shipped 19 goals to date.

But that is still an improvement on the 21 conceded by the the team including the highly-rated Car Piergianni, Scott Garner, Liam Marrs and Zak Mills in the 2015-16 campaign.

However, there was an improvement in front of goal 12 months ago with Boston scoring 18 times - four more than to date in this league season - even if the ridiculously brilliant Dayle Southwell was responsible for nine, exactly half, of those goals (had he still been about to take those penalties then Boston may be a little closer to last season’s total).

Of course, with 30 games still to go, anything can happen.

Expecting United to go on yet another upsurge in form in the second half of the campaign would be a huge ask.

But in recent weeks the league form is on the up. In recent weeks things have started to click. In recent weeks the injury list has started to clear up and a fairly regular starting XI and formation is beginning to appear.

With teams like Salford, Fylde, Darlington, Halifax, Harrogate and Kiddermister all harbouring serious ambitions of promotions, breaking into the top five may be a tougher ask than ever before.

But with those teams all having to face one another, points will be dropped or shared and someone will probably fall by the wayside.

Perhaps another team could be there, picking up points in less glamorous matches and putting a bid together.

I’m not saying that team will be Boston. But I am saying it’s too early to sniff at a manager for daring to have a go.

We will perhaps have a more clear picture of what to expect come the end of the month when the team have faced Salford and Halifax.

But first this curent United side has to try to do what last season’s squad couldn’t, and get take more than a point from Worcester City at home.