Craig Elliott’s Boston United have begun the season in miserly fashion, keeping eight clean sheets from their opening 15 matches.
Yesterday’s 1-0 FA Cup victory over Sutton Coldfield Town saw them equal last season’s total number of shut-outs.
But how many more blanks would United have to enforce to better the results of recent seasons?
2019-20 - 8
The season has begun well for Craig Elliott’s side with summer signings Peter Crook, Simon Ainge, Luke Shiels, Karl Byrne and Alex Whittle all playing a part, alongside familiar faces Ben Middleton, Ashley Jackson and Lewis Gibbens. Keeper George Willis has also aided with county cup cameos. With a return of 53% clean sheets to date, they could be on track for a good season.
2018-19 - 8
Too many changes to personnel proved costly last season as Elliott’s side kept just eight shut-outs all campaign, a return of 17%.
2017-18 - 12
Adam Murray, Karl Hawley and Craig Elliott all oversaw the squad in a season where the club kept 12 clean sheets in 52 games (23%).
2016-17 - 10
In what was another season of transition, Murray taking over from previous incumbent Dennis Greene, just 10 clean sheets were secured from 46 matches (21%).
2015-16 - 12
This was the last time Boston United reached the play-offs, but as that second leg at North Ferriby proved, Greene’s swashbuckling sides were often built on goals and not stoic defences. Twelve clean sheets from 48 matches was a one-in-four (25%) return.
2014-15 - 11
Another play-off season, but fewer clean sheets (22%). United did, however, keep two of those shut outs against Chorley. Just imagine if they had managed three.
2013-14 - 13
Dennis Greene: an apology. Your sides did play to outscore the opposition, but in the 2013-14 campaign they kept 13 clean sheets (27%), the club’s best record from the past nine campaigns, with a back line including Carl Piergianni and Scott Garner.
2012-13 - 11
Jason Lee, Graham Hyde, Graham Drury and Greene all took charge of United in a weird season where the club mustered 11 blanks (22%).
2011-12 - 9
Just nine clean sheets from 50 matches (18%) was a frustrating return for Lee and joint boss Lee Canoville.
2010-11 - 26
Boston United reached the play-offs before suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Guiseley in the Blue Square North. During the course of the campaign they recorded a staggering 26 clean sheets, their best return in recent seasons. More than half (53%) their matches resulted in not conceding. Shaun Pearson, Lee Canoville, Kieran Murphy, Kevin Austin, James Cullingworth, Gareth Jelleyman and keepers Dan Haysread, Aaron Butcher and Paul Bastock played their part that season.
2009-10 - 20
Rob Scott and Paul Hurst always argued that success was built upon a strong defence. And they were not wrong as the club secured promotion from the UniBond Premier in a three-trophy season, keeping 20 clean sheets from 53 matches (38%).
2008-09 - 20
United’s bank balance saw them shunted down to the UniBond Premier, where they only secured their survival from the drop with a final-day victory over Cammell Laid. But despite a forgettable campaign, the side mustered 20 clean sheets (36%) - the same number as the following season when they secured promotion.
2007-08 - 6
Tommy Taylor’s Pilgrims recorded a mere six shut outs from 49 games in all competitions (12%) as the club began life in the Blue Square North with a mid-table finish.
2006-07 - 6
Boston United’s final season in the Football League saw them keep a miserable six clean sheets from 49 matches under Steve Evans as they suffered relegation. That’s a 12% clean sheet return and amazingly the exact same figures as the following season.