Saturday night fever returns to Boston United after Elliott ends Bradford Park Avenue hoodoo

Brad Abbott.
Brad Abbott.

Boston United 2 Bradford Parke Avenue 1

(Brad Abbott 64, Jordan Thewlis 66; Brad Dockerty 84)

Boston United can enjoy that Saturday night fever once again as Brad Abbott and Jordan Thewlis secured a 2-1 win over struggling Bradford Park Avenue.

Two goals in as many second-half minutes finally sunk the visitors, and earned Craig Elliott his first win over the Yorkshire side at the fourth time of asking.

It’s claimed that good things come to those who wait, and the Pilgrims fans can finally enjoy a Saturday night with a win in the bag for the first time in 19 weeks, the previous winning weekend being the 2-0 success at Hereford on April 27, the final game of last season.

If that wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, United’s victory moved them up to sixth in the National League North, even if Brad Dockerty’s late goal spoiled any hopes of four games without conceding.

George Green replaced the ill Tom Clare on the bench as he returned from injury, but apart from that Elliott stuck with the squad that won 2-0 at Kettering in midweek.

And just like four days earlier, the first half ended goalless.

Chances were few and far between in the opening 45, Boston asking questions of the Bradford defence with a series of Nicky Walker set pieces, but on those occasions where the ball dropped in the box a green shirt scrambled it away.

Abbott’s strike, following Karl Byrne’s quick free quick, whizzed inched wide of the post while Tom Platt and Simon Ainge didn’t go anywhere near as close.

Park Avenue looked confident going forward on the break. The lively Alex Hurst worked Peter Crook with an early effort and ex-Pilgrim Ryan Cresswell, who scored for Boston against Ashton United on his last appearance at York Street, hooked wide after Ricardo Calder bullied his way into the box and delivered a low cross.

Ten minutes after the break Jordans Thewlis and Adebayo-Smith replaced Walker and Andi Thanoj, the Pilgrims switching to 4-4-2 and beginning to turn the screw.

Elliott will - and should - be claiming the credit for his tactical switch as United netted twice in two minutes, both substitutes having their say.

Adebayo-Smith set Alex Whittle free on the overlap, his low cross causing havoc before Abbott smashed home through the busy box.

And seconds later Thewlis had his say, grabbing his fourth of the season with a low strike beyond Jack Bennett following a trademark burst of pace to create the space to shoot.

Two shots on target. Two goals.

United made it 363 minutes without conceding before Dockerty, who played under Elliott as Shaw Lane, rounded Crook to slot home and create a few nervy minutes.

Calder almost pulled Bradford level with a ferocious 20-yarder which swerved towards and then away from goal before falling the far side of the post.

But for the third match between the two at York Street, the Avenue couldn’t spoil the party with a last-gasp goal.

UNITED: Crook, Byrne, Whittle, Thanoj (Adebayo-Smith 56), Ainge, Shiels, Platt, Abbott, Knowles (Green 69), Walker (Thewlis 56), Rollins; Subs (not used): Jackson, Willis.

BPA: Bennett, Bazeley-Graham, Calder, Wood, Lund, Digbeu, Knight (Headley 31), Marriott, Cresswell (Gibbons 83), Hurst, Holmes (Dockerty 62).

REF: Scott Simpson.

ATT: 1,110 (47).