We want to go up as champions! Boston United boss has plan to dodge further play-off woes

Dayle Southwell.
Dayle Southwell.

Dennis Greene has a simple plan to avoid any further play-off devastation... go up as champions.

It may sound easier said than done, but the Boston United manager believes his squad already have all the attributes to finish on top of the pile next season.

Of course, with the likes of Alfreton, Nuneaton and Telford dropping down from the Vanarama Premier, FC United of Manchester and Curzon Ashton coming up and Fylde, Tamworth and whoever doesn’t win this season’s play-off final still hanging around, the National League North, as it is to be named, will be no walkover whatsoever.

But Greene reckons that a few tweaks and additions to his this season’s squad can bring the glory days back.

After all, he is talking about the Pilgrims side which finished their season unbeaten in 12 matches, and the side which never trailed Chorley once in four meetings - 390 minutes of football - this campaign.

And when you look at it like that, the future looks as bright as this weekend’s play-off semi-final defeat, going out 5-4 on penalties against Chorley, seems as impossible to understand.

“It’ll take them a while to get over but they’ll have their summer holidays,” Greene said of his team.

“It’ll hurt for a while but they’ll come back ready to go again.

“Our focus is to win the league next year and not be involved in the play-offs.”

With United 2-1 up and the minimum four minutes of time added on already played, the Jakemans Stadium was ready to party.

But one final punt upfield from Chorley keeper - and hero - Sam Ashton led to Adam Roscoe forcing extra time with one of the finest overhead kicks you are likely to ever see.

It was a moment of brilliance which only added to the tension of the day.

But it was also cruel on the Pilgrims who had been the far better team.

United comfortably led 2-0 with less than 50 minutes played as Scott Garner blasted home from close range and Kaine Felix prodded an effort beyond Ashton.

The Magpies earned themselves some hope when Chris Doyle stabbed home a deep free kick at the back post which evaded the home defence and then Roscoe levelled with a thunderbolt from the blue.

The margins of this game were so narrow that moments before the Magpies’ leveller, Dayle Southwell beat Ashton with a thunderous drive which smashed back into play off the post.

And the same man headed over deep into the second-half of extra time, the additional 30 minutes also seeing Roscoe dismissed for a second bookable offence, meaning he will now miss the final against Guiseley.

Chorley began proceedings from the penalty spot, where James Dean, Jack Dorney and Paul Jarvis netted and Dale Whitham and Flynn were both denied by Max Stryjek.

After Southwell, Zak Mills and Mark Jones conveted, Carl Piergianni had the chance to put Boston into the final, but Ashton palmed his strike onto the crossbar.

In sudden death Chorley’s Aaron Burns and United’s Jamie McGhee kept the tie alive, but after Mark Ross beat Stryjek, Ashton broke Rene Steer’s heart with another ball tipped onto the crossbar.

Chorley went wild, Boston’s players slumped to the floor.

It was heartbreak, but Greene believes the boot will be on the other foot in 12 months’ time.