BROWNE ON THE BALL: Will it be a season of two halves for Boston United?

Carl Piergianni and Tom Denton battle in North Ferriby, the last time the Pilgrims visited.
Carl Piergianni and Tom Denton battle in North Ferriby, the last time the Pilgrims visited.

Can you remember the last time Boston United were in the top half of the league table?

Perhaps your grandad sat you on his knee and recalled the glory years when he snuck in under the turnstiles with his pals and cheered on a top-11 team.

Ok, I’m being facetious here. It’s not that long ago.

It was, in fact, April 30, 2016 when a 5-0 thrashing of Stalybridge Celtic saw Boston end the campaign with a play-off spot.

But that was two seasons and two managers ago, and it feels like an age for a club which has enjoyed at least a cameo in the top half every season bar two for the past 25 years (the exceptions being the 2006-7 relegation from League Two, and 2002-03 when United kicked off life in the Football League with a four-point deduction).

However, if things go their way this weekend, the United could actually end the day in the top half of the National League North for the first time in close to 21 months.

Victory at North Ferriby, coupled with Tamworth failing to beat promotion-chasing Brackley, could see United leapfrog the Lambs and secure 11th spot.

Could. Yes. But it does sound possible.

But nothing is set in stone in this division, which produces more shocks than a dazed sheep stuck in an electric fence.

The Pilgrims were seconds away from a top-half position back in August following their 2-0 victory over Chorley, only for a stoppage-time goal from Stockport County to chuck a spanner in the works.

While Boston will be hoping Brackley, perhaps not their freshest after back-to-back FA Trophy matches against higher-league Barrow, can do them a favour, they also have to get a result at North Ferriby.

As the always-entertaining @bostonutdstats tweeted this week, the last man to score a winner at home for the Villagers was a certain Reece Thompson in early March last year.

But don’t get too cocky.

The last time Boston arrived in North Ferriby there was a sense of the result being a done deal.

Eight days after that big win at Stalybridge, they arrived at Grange Lane with a 2-0 first-leg lead, only to ship three and see their promotion hopes ended in stunning fashion.

And the Pilgrims needed a stoppage-time winner of their own to beat the Villagers in the reverse fixture this season, Jay Rollins finally seeing off a spirited side which were harder to break down than their goal difference column suggests.

With the 2015-16 league table consigned to history, Ferriby were the first team Boston faced no-longer a top-half team.

One year and nine months later, the Pilgrims are hoping to end that wait against the same opposition.