Boston United 3 Alfreton Town 2
BOSTON United scored three superb second-half goals to beat Blue Square Bet North champions elect Alfreton – and prove their season is far from over.
Goals from Marc Newsham, Danny Sleath and Shaun Pearson completed a remarkable second-half turnaround, after the Pilgrims had trailed 2-0 at the break.
It also meant United are the first team to do the double over the Reds this season, who have only lost three league games all campaign.
Boston offered little in the first 45 minutes and fully deserved to trail as they rushed their passes in attack, showing the visitors far too much respect.
But after the break the amber and blacks came out fighting and thoroughly scared the Reds with some stylish attacking football.
After the two sides had finished sizing each other up, it was Alfreton who took the lead on 20 minutes when former Pilgrim Ian Ross split the home defence with a pin-point cross that Anton Brown headed beyond Dan Haystead.
Boston should have levelled in the 42nd minute when Adam Boyes beat keeper Chris Mackenzie to the ball as the stopper rushed from his area.
But with the ball tangled up underneath his feet, he could only send a weak shot goalsards, which Theo Streete comfortably hoofed upfield.
And with that, Liam Hearn latched onto the loose ball, cut inside from the wing before firing a low drive beyond the helpless Haystead.
Suddenly, the game seemed over as the Reds superbly turned defence into attack and looked to have sealed the points.
But it was a different Boston after the break.
Within five minutes, Newsham had given his team a glimmer of hope.
Jamie Green played a low ball into the penalty area and poacher Newsham, who doesn’t often miss from close range, proddied beyond Mackenzie at his near post.
United’s confidence suddenly increased and their attacking moves became slicker.
On 68 minutes Sleath made it 2-2.
Capitalising on an air kick from Streete, he burst through on goal before calmly slotting his shot under the advancing Mackenzie’s body.
But there was more to come.
With seven minutes left on the clock Green whipped in an exquisite corner which the Reds defence could only watch as Pearson powered home the winner.
With six minutes of injury time signalled, Alfreton were very much in the game and could have stolen an equaliser when Nathan Jarman headed over from close range.
And with seconds remaining, Nathan Arnold snuck in at the back post, but his fierce drive smashed against Haystead’s post.
With Nuneaton earning a point against Gloucester, they hold on to top spot, with Boston moving up to second.
This may only be delaying the inevitable as Alfreton have the games in hand to eventually lead the league convincingly.
But last night was Boston’s night, an evening when they proved they can match themselves against the best the Blue Square Bet North has to offer.