Mark Jones marked his return to the Boston United team by slamming home one of the finest individual goals the Jakemans Stadium has seen in some time.
With 69 minutes on the clock the half-time substitute picked up the ball in his own half before running at pace at the retreating Stockport County defenders, slipping the ball onto his right foot and beating Andreas Arestidou with a thunderous 18-yard strike which flew beyond the keeper at his near post.
“It was a good feeling to get back in the team after six weeks out and get a good goal as well,” admitted Jones, who has only trained twice since picking up a hamstring injury in November’s 4-3 defeat at North Ferriby.
“It’s up there as one of the better goals I’ve scored.
“I just got on the half turn and I didn’t see much support so I thought ‘I’ve got to go for it’.
“I looked at the defender and carried on running, decided to go to the side and just smashed it and it’s gone top corner.”
Jones’ goal will certainly be among the contenders for the National League North’s goal of the season come April, but it was the dominant way in which the Pilgrims swept aside County which pleased the crowd most.
After weathering an early storm, the hosts never looked back following Kaine Felix’s 19th-minute opener.
After winning a header on the halfway line, the winger outsprinted his marker down the right flank before cutting in and neatly tucking the ball away from an acute angle.
United doubled their advantage with some controversy in the 40th minute.
After Kayode Odejayi had handled Carl Piergianni’s goalbound header, Arestidou and defender Sean O’Hanlon attempted to put Dayle Southwell off with some timewasting tactics.
Arestidou saved the initial spot kick with his legs, but with a series of bodies charging into the box, referee Amy Fearn ordered a re-take, which Southwell fired home for his 15th of the season.
The injured forward was replaced by Jones at the interval, and the striker didn’t take long to mark his arrival.
And there was still time for Lewis Hilliard to add to the scoreline, just three minutes into his debut.
Jordan Richards’ nutmeg on Karl Ledsham set the move going, the midfielder linking with Grant Roberts to free Felix down the right wing, where his deep cross was thumped into the net by the newcomer with 73 minutes gone.
County had their chances, but after Jonny Margetts scooped wide from a good position and Lewis Montrose’s drive was deflected wide, the Hatters seemed to lack momentum.
When chasing the game Karl Ledsham saw his effort tipped away by Henrich Ravas, County’s only telling effort on target.
United also had oportunities to add to their tally, but Arestidou did well to divert Southwell’s low effort and smother Jones’ header.
UNITED: Ravas, Marrs, Mills, Piergianni, McEvoy, Garner (Sands 77), Richards, Roberts, Felix, Southwell (M. Jones HT), Rollins (Hilliard 70); Subs (not used): Robbins, Vince.
COUNTY: Arestidou, Morton, O’Hanlon, Smalley, Garvin, Tonge (Evans 55), Joyce (Baggie 85), Montrose, Ledsham, Odejayi, Margetts; Subs (not used): Roberts, Fulwood, Ormson.
Ref: Amy Fearn.