BROWNE ON THE BALL: Tshimanga raises the benchmark for Boston United

Kabongo Tshimanga.
Kabongo Tshimanga.

Ashley Hemmings’ low cross powered through the penalty area and to the back post where Kabongo Tshimanga was lurking, ready to pounce.

A simple firm guide of the foot and the ball was in the back of the net and Boston United had completed a two-minute comeback to earn an FA Trophy replay with Kidderminster Harriers.

For Tshimanga, Saturday’s finish was arguably the easiest chance he will get this season. And possibly the most significant.

Significant as he became the first player to reach double figures for United this season- even more so because six of those goals have come from the bench.

While the young attacker is scoring the goals that were promised when he made his summertime move from MK Dons, the manner in which he is getting his name on the scoresheet isn’t particularly helping his cause to become a regular starter.

Six of his first 10 goals for Boston have come as a substitute, the only Boston player to manage this feat for decades.

Kabongo Tshimanga.

Kabongo Tshimanga.

In the past 21 seasons only two other forwards have scored five times from the bench in an entire season - Danny Davison in the 2009-10 campaign and Carl Smaller as far back as 1996-97.

When you factor in that three of Davison’s came in a 10-0 thrashing of the kids from Durham and Smaller was on target in a 10-1 stuffing of Sudbury Wanderers and a President’s Cup contest against Gainsborough, Tshimanga’s feat - although including a Lincs Senior Cup goal against a youthful Grimsby Town side - looks all the more impressive.

Davison and Smaller both managed five goals from the bench in an entire season, Tshimanga has beaten that by November, in just 13 introductions from the dug-out.

Another stat working against the young forward is that all 10 of his goals have arrived in the second half, possibly suggesting his pace and positional skills are all the more effective when the opposition are that bit more mentally and physically tired.

Kabongo Tshimanga.

Kabongo Tshimanga.

However, don’t let this diminish Tshimanga’s importance to the team for a single minute.

He really is the man for all occasions, having featured in 28 of United’s opening 29 matches, and being the only player to score in the county cup, league, FA Cup and FA Trophy - all four of the competitions in which the Pilgrims compete.

He also reached double figures in 27 apearances, one quicker than last year’s leading scorer Jay Rollins managed.

That may be nowhere near as swift as Marc Newsham (13, 14, 19 matches), Ollie Ryan (14) and Dayle Southwell (16, 17) have reached the 10-goal mark in the past decade.

But it was only four games more than it took Spencer Weir-Daley in 2010-11 in a season where the Pilgrims reached the play-offs and quicker than it took Newsham (29 matches) the following season.

Newsham went on to score 21 times that campaign, offering some hope that Tshimanga could even make it to the 20-goal mark.

Undoubtedly Tshimanga will continue to add to his tally this season.

He is a talented young player who is still raw but - if managed correctly - quite simply set for a very good career in the game.

But whether he continues to score as a starter or a substitute this season will be defined by the manner in which he continues to take his chances.