Missed chances came back to haunt Boston United as they were beaten 4-1 at Chester.
The hosts were more than deserving victors, but Craig Elliott’s side will be left wondering what might have been had they not struck the post twice in the first half and seen other good chances go begging.
Today’s match was Boston’s season so far condensed into a 90-minute microcosm; hope, frustration, some hope again but falling short in the end.
The Pilgrims began the day a place and a point off the play-offs, but, despite being leapfrogged by the Blues, now only sit two positions and two points away from the top-seven.
As they face a blank Saturday next weekend they may well slip even further off the pace.
But this season, being about as predictable as a pub drunk staggering to the bar for last orders, still has plenty twists and turns.
It’s too early to write United off, but they must be more clinical.
Chester began the game looking every bit the side who had lost their previous four matches, with Boston enjoying the generous space and time being offered.
Jay Rollins was booked for an overly-dramatic tumble in the box early on while Gavin Allott saw an early strike rebound off the post and back into play as early pressure didn’t pay off.
But a few long balls to the big, busy Akwasi Asante reminded the hosts they were very much in the game and, as confidence in the home ranks grew, George Willis had to deny Matty Waters at his near post with his legs and pound away Craig Mahon’s long ranger.
Asante opened the scoring in the 21st minute, helping the ball over the line after Steve Howson had beaten the onrushing Willis to Mahon’s high ball into the Boston box.
His looping header would probably have found its way into the net unaided, but Asante wasn’t going to pass on such an inviting opportunity.
United rediscovered their early confidence and had their chances to get back on level terms, Nicky Walker rattling the woodwork a second time and Allott drilling across the face of goal.
Despite United’s bluster it was the hosts who scored that vital second goal, Anthony Dudley’s rising rocket thundering past Willis and into the top corner three minutes before the interval.
Boston resumed the second period knowing an early goal could leave the home defence questioning themselves, and they almost pulled one back as Spencer Harris met Ben Davies’s free kick, but Grant Shenton was down quickly to palm away the danger with a superb save.
This contest, however, was stubbornly determined to swing from end to end, Dan Mooney’s curling, dipping effort whistling over Willis’s bar and Dudley’s effort flying wide.
Once again, Chester kept knocking on the door until they finally forced their way in, Mahon’s low strike squeezing beyond Willis to make it three.
Davies gave Boston hope as he curled a free kick beyond Shenton on the ground he used to call home in the 72nd minute, but a minute later the three-goal lead was restored as substitute George Waring marked his home debut with a brace diving header to ensure Boston’s winless run at Chester stretched to 19 years.
CHESTER: Shenton, Jackson, Waters, Burton, Livesey, Howson, Mahon, Roberts (Green 82), Asante (Waring HT), Dudley, Mooney (Marsh-Hughes 84); Subs (not used): Thomson, Murray.
UNITED: Willis, Davies, Jackson, Thanoj, Harris, Qualter, Wright (Wafdula 77), Wroe, Allott (Johnson 84), Rollins, Walker (Abbott 67); Subs (not used): Slew, Parkin.
REF: Matt Corlett.
STAR MAN: Ben Davies - Great goal and a solid performance.