NORTH FERRIBY UNITED 1 BOSTON UNITED 5: Ruthless Pilgrims move to within five points of the play-offs after thrashing basement boys

Gregg Smith.
Gregg Smith.
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Boston United stretched their unbeaten run to seven games with a 5-1 thrashing of basement side North Ferriby.

And Brackley’s late leveller at Tamworth saw the Pilgrims move into the division’s top half for the first time since April 2016, and just five points away from the top seven.

Ashley Hemmings, Gregg Smith, Reece Thompson and Brad Abbbott eased the United into a comfortable 4-0 lead.

Adam Bolder pulled one back for the Villagers, but Kabongo Tshimanga had the final say to underline the away side’s dominance.

The contest went with form as Boston made it 19 points from a possible 21 as Ferriby’s miserable search for a National League North point stretched into double figures.

From the first minute to the last, the gulf in class, ability and game management was wider than the two banks of the Humber.

Craig Elliott’s side were ruthless in the opening 45, earning themselves the four-goal lead which allowed them to casually go through the motions against their youthful and inexperienced opponents in the second half.

It was the Pilgrims’ first win at Grange Lane since March 2009 and world’s apart from their previous visit, that 3-0 play-off semi-final defeat in spring 2016.

Elliott made two changes to the side which beat Tamworth 3-1 a fortnight earlier, Stephen Brogan and Smith replacing Taron Hare and Lee Bennett.

Brogan, who joined from the Villagers in December, was one of four ex-Ferriby players in the Pilgrims squad, along with Ben Middleton, Reece Thompson - the last man to score a winner for the hosts at Grange Lane, in March last year - and Hare.

Ross Durrant, Jordan Deacey and Ben Clappison were three Ferriby players with Boston experience.

It was game over with less than five minutes on the clock as the Pilgrims eased into a 2-0 lead.

Hemmings converted a first-minute penalty after Clappison pulled back Thompson in the box, and Smith doubled that advantage as he acrobatically volleyed home Hemmings’ corner.

Durrant had already got down well to deny Thompson before the striker made it 3-0 with 17 minutes on the clock.

Abbott’s initial effort was tipped onto the post, but the man who netted 12 times for the Villagers last season smashed the rebound high into the net from close range.

Abbott eventually got his goal with the final touch of the first half, slotting home at the back post following Hemmings’ marauding run down the left and selfless pass.

Bolder fired home the Villagers’ consolation from the spot with 11 minutes to go after Middleton had upended Jerome Slew.

But Boston responded with Kabongo Tshimanga regaining his leading scorer tag from Hemmings, netting his 12th of the campaign to finish off Thompson’s low drive, following Jamie McGuire’s excellent through ball.

The Pilgrims could have added to their tally but Brogan and Thompson both saw efforts flash wide, while Jack Mail was in the right place to hack Jay Rollins’ drive off the line.

Andi Thanoj forced a save from Durrant and also stuck a free kick high over the bar.

For Ferriby, Carl Stewart was twice denied by namesake Jon, and that was as good as it got apart from Bolder’s spot kick.

FERRIBY: Durrant, Kyei (Taylor 68), Walters, Bolder, Clappison (Mail 54), Cooke, Dunkerley (Deacey 54), Forrester, Stewart, Agnew, Slew; Subs (not used): Ansu, Exall.

UNITED: Stewart, Middleton, Qualter, Keane, Brogan, Rollins (Bennett 73), Abbott (McGuire 68), Thanoj, Hemmings, Smith (Tshimanga 68), Thompson; Subs (not used): Hare, Willis.

Ref: Ricky Wootton.