BROWNE ON THE BALL: Mind over matter can turn Boston United’s season around

Nat  Brown.
Nat Brown.

It’s mental. It’s psychological. You can see it in their body language.

This Boston United side has an obvious fear of going a goal down, and you don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to spot that.

The Pilgrims have played five National League North matches so far this season, losing four and winning one.

That single victory, the 3-0 home success against Tamworth, came after Dennis Greene’s side took a fifth-minute lead.

Those quartet of defeats all saw United pick the ball out of their net first.

This isn’t a quirk of the early fixtures. This isn’t a rogue stat. This is evident for all to see. Concede first and heads drop.

Tamworth arrived at the Jakemans Stadium unbeaten and joint top of the table, while Boston were rock bottom with no points and one goal after three games played.

But after Waide Fairhurst’s fifth-minute strike flew in, United had confidence. They had a lead to hold onto, a reason to fight.

Yes, they rode their luck at times, Christian Dibble, the woodwork and a Courtney Wilding block all playing their part.

But as the full time whistle blew, even with another penalty being saved, the Pilgrims had beaten a very good Tamworth side.

In contrast, they have also made some average sides look much better than they truly are.

When United have something to lose they don’t want to give it up. When they go a goal down they play like they’ve already lost.

In those four matches where they have conceded first, Greene’s side have managed just one goal, and that was deep into stoppage time at Darlington, who switched off while comfortably leading 4-0.

You could argue, fairly, that the opening-day defeat to Stalybridge Celtic was a freak result, where dominance didn’t pay off.

But why didn’t it?

Celtic took their only real chance while Boston squandered a hatful. Was that a new side yet to gel or a confidence issue?

In United’s defence, they have been riddled with injuries this campaign.

Players like Nat Brown and Shane Clarke, brought in to be leaders, have yet to kick a ball while Fairhurst, another old head here to guide the youngsters, looks set for a stretch on the sidelines.

But in team sports there is no room for passengers. Careers progress by leading through example, not frustrating excuses.

Chains are only as strong as their weakest links and it’s time for everyone on that pitch to take responsibility.

This team is good enough to end the season in the top half of the table, but only if those on the pitch play to their full potential, both physically and mentally.