BROWNE ON THE BALL: Why Boston United need to move for great Scott

Scott Garner.
Scott Garner.

Madness against the Hatters. The Pilgrims edge it at Edgeley Park. A defence which stops the Bucks’ fizz. The thrill of the Skrill.

That’s right, the league season is back... and wow, what a start.

Nobody - especially the bookies - expected Boston United to leave Stockport County with three points, let alone earning them in such confident fashion.

Anyone who had the confidence to stick a few bob on Dennis Greene’s men (3/1 for victory at kick off) will have a healthier looking bank account after that 4-1 victory.

And for the travelling Pilgrims fans - in fine voice from start to finish - it was dreamland.

Not just because of the result, but also because - amidst the superb surroundings of Edgeley Park - it felt like Boston were back in the Football League.

A stadium where seats rather than fields occupy all four sides, an audible public address system and an atmosphere conjured up by more than 3,000 supporters are hard to come by at this level of the game.

No disrespect is intended, but Saturday’s trip was the polar opposite of what it will be like at North Ferriby on Monday.

But turn the clock back 10 years and a day out like this was the norm.

Since Boston were relegated from the Football League in 2007, there has been plenty of entertaining football, there has been plenty of terrible football.

But days out like Saturday’ are about as common as a 45-minute cameo from Steve Spriggs.

The last time I remember something similar to Saturday was the opening day of the 2009-10 season where the Pilgrims beat FC United at Gigg Lane.

The season kicked off in the north west at a Football League stadium, the travelling support went in fine voice and a newly-assembled Pilgrims squad pulled off a minor upset on the road in a performance that owed as much to spirit as it did to perseverance.

Of course, that season United went on to win three trophies and a promotion.

It is far too soon to get carried away thinking of anything similar.

But if United are to succeed this season, they need to build upon their Stockport success.

Yes, the side scored four times, but the biggest plus was the brilliant defence that gave no quarter.

Then there was the midweek battle with Telford.

Peter Bore’s 35 yarder was the talking point, but again one of the division’s most fancied sides were reduced to scraps in front of goal.

The man who stole the show at Stockport - making two match-changing last-ditch challenges as well as getting on the scoresheet - was Scott Garner, currently on loan from Cambridge United.

And Garner was doing the business again in midweek, marshalling the back line well and coming within a whisker of another goal.

Garner’s loan comes to an end in January, and perhaps a defensive shortage at the U’s, a cash offer from elsewhere or a favour called in could see him play the second half of the season elsewhere... perhaps for a rival.

That’s why I believe it could be important for United to try to wrap him up for a season-long loan, or better still, try to get him in on contract.

Without Garner, there are Carl Piergianni, Stefan Galinski and Conor Marshall who are all more than capable of slotting in to defence.

But with such a small squad, it only takes one injury and one suspension for this back line to be stretched.

If Boston have designs of making those days out at places like County a regular occurence, they need to have their most influential players available

And in the instance of Garner, that means striking while the iron’s hot.