BROWNE ON THE BALL: It’s job done for Boston United... the hard work starts now

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“We are going up,” chanted the away fans as the final whistle blew and Boston United booked their place in the Vanarama North play-offs.

The players and staff headed straight for the goal where the Pilgrims faithful had congregated in front of their giant flags to join in with the dancing and jumping.

Tamworth lost. Boston won. Dayle Southwell scored a hat-trick. Grant Roberts smashed home a beauty. Play-offs were confirmed. There was no reason at all not to celebrate.

It had taken 41 long, hard, brilliantly beautiful and heartbreakingly drab games - but the mission was accomplished. Job done.

Only it’s not job done is it?

The Pilgrims are in the play-offs, and that means the hard work starts now.

Dennis Greene’s squad had every right to celebrate wildly after securing a top-five finish,and they’ll have every right to do so again this Saturday as they are applauded up the York Street stand steps ahead of their post-match Player of the Year awards.

But come Sunday all attention will be turned to the deadly serious matter of the play-offs.

Where United will be playing next Wednesday and Saturday is still anyone’s guess.

But one thing is for certain - reaching the final will not be an easy task.

This is knockout football, and anything can happen.

Perhaps whichever of Barrow of AFC Fylde that misses out on the title and automatic promotion will be physically and emotionally drained and unable to find their rhythm and motivation again.

Maybe Guiseley will be overcome with the jitters after their previous play-off stints ended in despair.

There’s always the chance that Chorley will not be able to shift the notion that they failed to beat Boston either home or away this season and be overcome by this fact.

But still, you can’t take anything for granted - just ask Marc Newsham.

As the only remaining member of the 2010-11 squad, the last United team to appear in a Vanarama North play-off , Newsham knows all too well how cruel the play-ofs can be.

United went into the play-offs on top of the form table and played a near-perfect second leg, coming back from a 1-0 deficit to win 3-2.

But it was Guiseley who progressed on penalties, winning 4-3 to leave hardly a dry eye in those three quarters of York Street that were amber and black.

But few things can motivate like failure.

Newsham will want to, if given his chance, right those wrongs, just like the majority of this squad are desperate to gain promotion and put last season’s final-day heartbreak truly behind them.

The play-offs are cruel and only the most ruthless and stone-hearted team will progress.

But the good news for United is that this squad has those two attributes in abundance.