Salford City 1-2 Boston United
Boston United clinched a memorable away win over Salford City on Saturday afternoon but it was not enough to prevent the Ammies lifting the title in the process.
Goals from Reece Thompson and Kabongo Tshimanga capped a dominant first half performance from the Pilgrims and despite Lois Maynard’s 71st minute reply, United held firm for all three points.
Gus Mafuta was red-carded for the hosts in the closing stages but Salford claimed the title courtesy of Harrogate Town’s reversal at Bradford Park Avenue.
Tshimanga was handed a rare start in the United attack, with Jake Beesley ineligible to face his parent club.
United made a purposeful start at the Peninsula Stadium and took the game to their title-chasing hosts. On-loan Nottingham Forest keeper Tim Erlandsson had to save well from an early Andi Thanoj free-kick.
The Pilgrims edged in front after 27 minutes when THOMPSON broke down the left before squaring the ball and was in the right place to steer home the rebound after Tshimanga had miscued a shot from the edge of the box.
United doubled their lead eight minutes later when Ashley Hemmings delivered a corner which was met by Jordan Keane for TSHIMANGA to touch the ball home from close-range.
Salford threatened meaningfully for the first time with Liam Hogan heading over from a Tom Walker free-kick.
United kept Salford at arm’s length after the break and George Willis got all the way behind Josh Askew’s effort on the hour mark.
The Ammies cut the deficit with 19 minutes to play when ex-Pilgrim Carl Piergianni headed on Walker’s corner and MAYNARD powered the loose ball past an exposed Willis.
Salford cranked up the pressure in the closing stages, despite not even needing a point given Harrogate’s losing position at the Horsfall Stadium, with Walker slamming wide and Willis denying Piergianni.
Substitute Mike Phenix had the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside before Mafuta received his marching orders for fouling Thompson, minutes after being cautioned for dissent.
In a frenzied finale, Walker hit the post with a free-kick which skipped up past Willis before the United keeper made a fabulous points-clinching double save to deny Hogan and Richie Allen at the death.
Salford (4-4-2): Tim Erlandsson; Michael Nottingham, Liam Hogan, Carl Piergianni, Abou Touray; Tom Walker, Gus Mafuta, Lois Maynard, Nick Haughton (Josh Askew 59); Mani Dieseruvwe (Richie Allen 59), Jack Redshaw (Mike Phenix 71). Subs (not used): Scott Burton, Anthony Dudley.
Boston (4-4-2): George Willis; James Clifton (Ben Middleton 83), Ryan Qualter, Jordan Keane, Stephen Brogan; Jonathan Wafula, Brad Abbott, Andi Thanoj, Ashley Hemmings; Reece Thompson (Benny Igiehon 90), Kabongo Tshimanga (Gregg Smith 77). Subs (not used): Jamie McGuire, Jon Stewart (gk).
Referee: Scott Simpson.