Boston United’s winning streak came to an end at Gloucester City - and they only have themselves to blame.
As the Pilgrims board the team bus to head home from Whaddon Road they will be left reflecting on a series of wasted opportunities that came back to haunt them when Joe Parker headed home the game’s only goal after an hour of play.
Brimming with confidence, Boston arrived looking for their fifth straight victory in the National League North, and three points which would se them move up to second in the table.
Instead, some poor finishing in front of goal cost United dearly in a game where keeper Fabian Spiess was their standout player.
The Pilgrims handed a debut to on-loan Grimsby Town midfielder while Dylan McEvoy returned to left back following his calf injury.
Within five minutes both teams should have found the back of the net, but a wasted opportunity and a wonder save kept things goalless.
Lewis Hilliard had a golden chance to put Boston in front when he met Jay Rollins’ low cross seven yards from goal, but he scuffed his effort and held his head in his hands as the ball bobbled wide of the mark.
In response, Fabian Spiess chucked his frame in front of Sam Avery’s strike from inside the six-yard box, deflecting the ball wide after the away side had failed to deal with a corner.
Moments later Avery met a deep cross at the back post, only to guide his header the wrong side of the post.
At the opposite end a diving John Sands header went the same way after he met Grant Roberts’ dipping delivery.
Jas Singh has made a habit of frustrating United over the years, and it was no different when Kaine Felix loomed down on goal, the Tigers stopper firmly parrying the winger’s strike.
But even when the keeper made an uncharacteristic error, the Pilgrims still couldn’t capitalise.
After losing his bearings on the edge of his penalty area, Singh delayed then fumbled a ball into his box, but with the keeper grounded Felix saw his effort, with the goal at his mercy, trickle off target.
United suffered a blow when Rollins was forced off through injury to be replaced by Mark Jones.
Gloucester were finding efforts at goal harder to come by as the first half progressed, but when Joe Parker made space to unleash a powerful low effort Spiess got down well to deny him.
The second half began with Singh making yet another fine stop, this time at full stretch to push away Carl Piergianni’s goalbound header.
Parker again caused Boston problems as he outsprinted Piergianni and hooked his effort over the head of Spiess.
But, as was the story of the first hour, he couldn’t direct his shot goalwards.
Persistence paid off for Parker in the 61st minute as he put the hosts in front.
After forcing his way into the penalty box and seeing his stabbed effort saved by Spiess, the forward headed the loose ball over the backtracking defence and high into the goal.
United’s keeper then conjured up a jaw-dropping Jekyll and Hyde moment.
His weak kick was collected by Joe Hanks who lobbed the stranded keeper from 40 yards out, but after the ball rebounded off the post Spiess rose to his feet to instinctively fingertip Parker’s follow-up over.
With Malachi Lavelle-Moore and Cameron Johnson replacing Felix and Sands, Boston appeared to take time to regain a footing in the final third.
When the ball landed kindly to Hilliard he dragged a low effort round Singh’s post, the Tigers number one having the final say as he tipped Johnson’s 20-yarder wide.
GLOUCESTER: Singh, Green, Cundy, Avery, Jones, Webb, Dinsley, Williams, Hanks, Hall, Parker, Subs (not used): Richards, Miller, Hamilton, Orenuga, Knowles.
UNITED: Spiess, Marrs, Garner, Piergianni, McEvoy, Felix (Johnson 68), Roberts, Venney, Rollins (Jones 20), Sands (Lavelle-Moore 64), Hilliard; Subs (not used): Cooney, Evans.
Ref: Antony Coggins.