Second-half collapse a familiar tale of woe

United Counties League - Long Buckby 4 Boston Town 3: BOSTON Town's hopes of going top of the league were shattered after a disastrous second half against lowly Long Buckby.

Going in at the break 3-1 to the good and looking comfortable the Poachers, not for the first time this season, caved in, leaking three goals in the second 45 minutes.

Lincoln youngster Scott Loach deputised for keeper Paul Buttery and was certainly in the thick of the action throughout the 90 minutes.

Early Boston pressure saw efforts from both Micky Nuttell and Gary Bull collected by home keeper Steve King, but the Poachers took the lead on 14 minutes when King's mishit goal kick went straight to Paul Goodhand, who rifled the ball into the empty net from 25 yards.

A warning of what was to come followed when the lively Justin McKenzie broke clear of the shaky Boston defence, only to shoot straight at Loach.

Boston began to peg back the home side. Goodhand and Stares pushed and probed and a Stares effort on the turn flew wide while another Gary Bull strike went the same way.

James Brader was causing problems for the home side down the right and was the victim of some rash tackling.

Shaun Baker's effort from a Goodhand free kick bounced off the bar and keeper King was quick to punch the rebound for a corner.

But it was from this corner that Boston increased their lead, Goodhand whipping the ball into the top left corner of the net on 33 minutes.

Bull should have made it three on 40 minutes but shot straight at Steve King when through on goal.

Buckby were gifted a lifeline on 43 minutes. Uncertainty in the Boston defence saw the ball break in the area and John Crocket stabbed home.

The Poachers restored their two-goal advantage within a minute. Stares brought the ball down on the edge of the area and found Bull, lurking just inside the box, who fired a low drive past King.

The home side were quick to reduce the deficit after the break. Four minutes into the second half veteran striker Darren Harmon was put through on the Boston goal and lobbed the ball over Loach and into the open net.

The hosts were now transformed. Harmon and Justin McKenzie pulled the visiting defence all over the place and looked a different proposition. The Poachers had lost their rhythm and failed to contain the waves of attacks being mounted on their goal.

Buckby equalised on 73 minutes when more confusion in the Boston rearguard allowed McKenzie to break clear and hit another clever lob over Loach and into the back of the net.

Two minutes later the comeback was complete. A Lee Botterell corner was only partially cleared and Crocket lashed home a clinical finish through a ruck of players to beat the young goalkeeper for his second of the game.

Boston sent on Dave Scotney, Ben Harris and Ross Don-Duncan for the final 15 minutes, but apart from a Gary Bull near-post effort which went agonisingly wide they failed to find a way back.

TOWN: Loach, Thompson, Brooks (Harris 70), Stares, Baker, Collins, Brader (Scotney 80), Goodhand, Nuttell (Don-Duncan 83), Bull, Price.

Star man: Paul Goodhand. Quality throughout. Consistent pushing and probing and two instinctive predatory strikes.