Boston United 2-1 Droylsden
By Craig Singleton
Second half headers from Tom Ward and Jordan Burrow capped a perfect week for Boston United as the Pilgrims completed a maximum haul of six points.
The Pilgrims produced a good performance to sink a talented Droylsden side at The Jakemans Stadium — with headed finishes from Ward and debutant Burrow sandwiching a Ciaran Kilheeney leveller for the visitors.
Ward struck from a Ben Milnes corner, while Burrow bravely got on the end of a Gareth Jelleyman cross to hand United all three points.
Jelleyman was recalled to the side at left-back following two matches on the sidelines due to injury. Kevin Austin and Nathan Stainfield were both ruled out of contention ahead of kick-off, while Burrow was named on the bench following his loan switch from Chesterfield in midweek.
The Pilgrims tried to take the game to the visitors, who are renowned for their ‘total football’ mentality.
Milnes’ low shot was well saved by Paul Phillips and Danny Sleath rattled the post with the follow-up — although the offside flag was already raised.
Droylsden’s first chance unfolded with Dale Johnson glancing a header wide, via a deflection off Ward, following Dan Gardner’s cross from the left.
Sleath then lobbed a cross-shot agonisngly wide of Phillips’ far post as the Pilgrims cranked up the pressure.
Strong Droylsden handball shouts were turned down in the Boston box at the other end and Paul Bastock made an instinctive save to grab Nat Kerr’s goalbound header.
Chances continued to arrive for both sides. Ryan Semple’s cross was volleyed marginally over his own bar by Lewis Killeen as one of the most bizarre own goal ever beckoned.
Paul Marshall’s deflected drive was held by Bastock at full stretch as the Bloods closed the first half on top.
The Pilgrims took the lead three minutes after the break. Milnes delivered an inviting corner delivery and WARD produced an excellent header finished which evaded Phillips — and defender Marshall on the line.
United were enjoying their best spell of the match and it took a brilliant save from Phillips to keep out Jason Lee’s towering header, following Semple’s tantalising cross from the right.
Burrow replaced Lee shortly after the manager’s excellent headed chance, but the Bloods drew level on 57 minutes.
So often United’s nemesis in Southport and Burscough colours, KILHEENEY wriggled clear of Ward to round Bastock and stroke the ball into an empty net.
The Bloods could have taken the lead moments later with Marshall driving too high from close-range, while Gardner seized upon Jelleyman’s spectacularly-underhit backpass to roll an effort a fraction off target.
United resumed their offensive, with Ben Fairclough’s angled drive flying just wide following Sleath’s throughball.
Burrow could have opened the scoring with a headed chance, but the ball cannoned into the turf and over the bar following Milnes’ corner.
Danny Rowe and Ricky Anane were not too far away with firmly-driven efforts for the visitors, but United reasserted their lead 11 minutes from time.
Jelleyman’s deep cross was hacked up into the air by Bloods’ defender John Hardiker and BURROW bravely beat Phillips to the ball with a looping header which dropped into the far corner.
United pressed for a killer third goal thereafter, while Droylsden threw everything forward in their attempts to net a second equaliser.
Semple skipped inside the challenge of Carlos Logan, but chose to dink the ball past Phillips, who recovered to make the save.
Bastock saved well to deny Rowe, before producing a terrific diving stop in stoppage time after Gardner’s drive had deflected goalwards off Kilheeney.
Boston (4-4-2): Paul Bastock; Ben Wilkinson, Tom Ward, Alan White, Gareth Jelleyman; Ryan Semple, Ben Milnes, Danny Sleath, Chris Hall; Jason Lee (Jordan Burrow 54), Marc Newsham (Ben Fairclough 61). Subs (not used): Mikel Suarez, Adam Millson, Jordan Fairclough.
Droylsden (4-3-3): Paul Phillips; Ricky Anane (Steve Hall 85), Nat Kerr (Chris Brown 58), John Hardiker, Carlos Logan; Lewis Killeen, Paul Marshall, Dan Gardner; Danny Rowe, Ciaran Kilheeney, Dale Johnson (Jordan Gerrard 46). Subs (not used): Shaun Holden, Sean Lake (gk).
Referee: Carl Fitch