Boston United suffered their first defeat of pre-season as they ended their warm-up matches with a 3-0 defeat at Hednesford Town.
Jordan Nadat, Lee Smith and James Lawrie found the net against a Pilgrims squad who had only conceded twice in their previous five contests.
And while the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Pitmen were good value for the victory, United’s ethos appeared to be more about getting minutes for the squad rather than the result.
But still, Adam Murray did not cut a happy figure on the sidelines.
Nadat gave the Pitmen a 33rd-minute lead as his low effort from inside the penalty area trickled past the unsighted George Willis.
But the fact that there was only one goal in the opening 45 minutes owed plenty to two fantastic reaction saves.
James Wren prevented Boston taking the lead as he got down well to palm Jack Broadhead’s firm header round his post.
At the other end Willis showed what he was capable of as quick thinking saw him block Lewis Wright’s powerfully-struck effort, which looked destined for the net as a low cross reached him just yards from goal.
The second half began with another vital block, this time Hednesford’s Smith finding himself in the right place to clear Tom Batchelor’s goalbound header off the line.
And a second telling header from the same man doubled the Pitmen’s lead in the 59th minute as he found the net after connecting with Kris Taylor’s corner.
Back came Boston, but Wren again held firm to deny Mason Warren’s low drive and Jamie McGuire’s 30-yard dipper.
Town made it 3-0 in the 76th minute, Lawrie finishing high into the net after a low cross was allowed to drift through the penalty area.
But now focus turns to Saturday, and the National League North curtain-raiser at Southport.
HEDNESFORD: Wren, Wheatley, Melbourne, Bailey, Oji (59), Taylor, Wright (Cater 63), Smith, Wynter (Trialist 63), Nadat, Lawrie; Subs (not used): Mutton, Hayes.
UNITED: Willis, Clifton (Trialist 65), Beatson, Warren (Vince 76), Keane, Broadhead (Maguire 54), Waite (Hare 54), Chapman, Hawley (Tshimanga 65), Batchelor, Hemmings (Adams 68); Subs (not used): Yeomans, Smith.
Ref: R. Watson.