LEAMINGTON 0 BOSTON UNITED 2: Pilgrims rip up the form book

Brad McGowan.
Brad McGowan.

Boston United ripped the form book up as they left Leamington with their second win in 13 league matches.

In a result sure to bust many a betting man’s accumulator, the team without a win in seven National League North contests claimed the points against the side unbeaten in as many games.

Boston’s first away win wasn’t enough to lift them out of the bottom three - they sit level on points and goal-difference with 19th-place Nuneaton, but have scored a goal less - but the victory shunted them much closer to safety.

It was caretaker manager Hawley’s first win in the Pilgrims’ dug-out. And what a win it was.

Boston played an effective game of two halves, expressing themselves in attack to take a 2-0 lead, before defending stoically as they dealt with wave after wave of attacks from the hosts.

Brad McGowan and Ashley Hemmings got their names on the scoresheet, but each and every Pilgrim deserves credit for their part in a battling win.

None more so, perhaps, than keeper George Willis, who pulled off a string of vital blocks and saves to earn his seventh clean sheet off the season.

Hawley stuck with the starting XI which pushed leaders Salford City in midweek, the only change to the squad being the return of Jan Yeomans from suspension, replacing Liam Wakefield on the bench.

Leamington named new signing Kaine Felix amongst their substitutes, along with fellow Pilgrims old boy Colby Bishop.

McGowan put the Pilgrims 1-0 up with less than than three minutes played.

Sam Muggleton's long throw was flicked on and the defender was at the back post to force home from close range.

It was the first time Boston had led in six matches, McGowan also opening the scoring on that day, September 11’s 2-1 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue.

And it went from good to great as the Pilgrims opened up a 2-0 lead for the first time since August’s win over Chorley, Hemmings doubling the lead from the penalty spot in the 37th minute, drilling his low drive beyond Tony Breeden after Harry Vince was shoved to the ground by James Mace.

In between those goals the Brakes had chances to level but Rob Thompson-Brown saw his strike held by Willis before Jack Edwards and Callum Gittings failed to find the target.

With the score at 2-0 both teams had opportunities to net before the break, but Vince looped James Clifton’s square pass over and Edwards saw a header fall beyond Willis but the wrong side of the back post.

The Brakes began the second half at a ferocious pace, but failed to turn pressure into goals.

Connor Gudger drilled an indirect free kick into the side netting before Wills was alert to bravely block at the feet of Kurtis Revan as he charged in on goal, following that up with two top saves to deny Kieran Dunbar.

Liam Canavan and Dunbar also had sights of goal but accuracy was again missing.

It took United almost 30 minutes to record their first shot on target in the second half.

Gregg Smith - who had already seen a hopeful 35-yard effort fly off target - twisted and turned but saw his strike saved by Breeden’s legs.

But the Brakes onslaught returned, Willis clawing Revan’s goalbound effort away rom the top corner and blocking Felix’s effort at his near post.

Substitute Jack Broadhead almost made it three as United broke in time added on, but he was denied by Jamie Hood’s timely slide.

That may have lifted Boston up another place in the table, but the side will happily board the bus having recorded their first away win of the league campaign.

BRAKES: Breeden, Mace, Gudger, Gittings (Bishop 84), Hood, English, Dunbar, Edwards (Clarke 78), Revan, Canavan, Thompson-Brown (Felix 68); Subs (not used): Taundry, Magunda.

UNITED: Willis, Clifton, Muggleton, McGuire, Beatson (Yeomans 64), McGowan, Hemmings, Keane, Smith (Tshimanga 78), Rollins, Vince (Broadhead 84); Subs (not used): Penfold, Adams.

Ref: Tom Kirk.