BROWNE ON THE BALL: How’s about stat! Boston United move into the top half as phenomenal run continues

Andi Thanoj in action at Ferriby.
Andi Thanoj in action at Ferriby.

Things have been going pretty well at Boston United lately. So well, in fact, that one computer whizz thought it would be a bit of a laugh to mock up a league table with the Pilgrims sat in the top half.

This was followed up with some digitally massaged images of the National League North form guide, which had Boston plonked on top.

So convincing were these stills that the club’s official website, the BBC, Non-League Paper, Sky Sports and even The Boston Standard were tricked into reprinting some of the data as fact.

Eh? You what? That was real?

Indeed, the Pilgrims’ renaissance has been so extraordinary that, had any of us seen these screen grabs being shared gleefully across social media over the weekend as recently as last month, then the opening three paragraphs of this column would be the only viable explanation.

The stats are phenomenal.

At the start of December United sat second-bottom and in danger of being cast adrift from safety.

Following Saturday’s 5-1 stuffing of North Ferriby - play-off winners and FA Trophy champions within the past three years - the club found themselves in the top half of the table for the first time since the final day of the 2015-16 season.

It’s amazing how quickly things turn around in football, isn’t it?

Even more staggering was the fact that, at the weekend, United sat just five points off the play-offs (the gap is now eight following Tuesday evening’s results, but could return to five if Boston beat Blyth on Saturday).

Suddenly match days could be spent frantically checking on the results of the chasing pack and not those sides struggling down the bottom; the hope of success so much more intoxicating than the hope of survival.

There’s no shame in reaching for the stars, but before we get carried away with promotion talk it ought to be pointed out that Boston’s run of 19 points from seven matches has been predominantly harvested from the league’s strugglers.

Of those seven matches, only one opponent - York City - sit above the Pilgrims in the table today, while three of those matches were against the bottom two.

This point is not meant to belittle the fantastic achievement of the side, who can only beat what is in front of them, but to point out that bigger challenges lay ahead. With regularity.

The Pilgrims have put themselves in a position where they can afford to dream.

They have built confidence and momentum.

If they believe they can challenge up there with the best teams then now is their chance to prove that, beginning with Saturday’s arrival of Blyth Spartans.

It’s not impossible. Craig Elliott has already shown he doesn’t understand that word - and he has the screen grabs to prove it.