Boston United 0-2 Harrogate Town
Goals from Harrogate Town pair Alan White and Adam Nowakowski inflicted a home defeat on Boston United on Saturday afternoon.
The Pilgrims were lacklustre throughout and trailed to a goal from ex-United favourite White three minutes before half-time.
Nowakowski increased the misery during the second period as the Pilgrims slumped to a disappointing but deserved home reverse.
United were forced to contend without the services of midfielder Ian Ross, who was not permitted to play under the terms of his transfer from Harrogate to Boston in November. Ryan Semple were preferred to Ben Fairclough in the other change to the side that had won so convincingly against Gloucester City seven days previously.
The Pilgrims suffered an early setback when Kevin Austin succumbed to a nasty-looking head injury after only five minutes following a clash of heads with Nowakowski. Tom Ward deputised from the bench.
The game was a scrappy affair throughout and United’s only ‘on target’ effort of the 90 minutes saw Mark Cook save well with his legs from Ben Milnes.
Spencer Weir-Daley whizzed a snapshot marginally wide for the Pilgrims, while Ricky Drury made a fairly routine stop to deny Alex Meechan.
Drury was powerless to prevent Harrogate taking the lead on 42 minutes. Lee Elam’s free-kick delivery saw players from both sides collide and WHITE swivelled to expertly fire home the loose ball, high to Drury’s left, from 12 yards.
Harrogate had the better chances after half-time. Paul Bolland shot wide from distance, while Craig Radcliffe’s free-kick clipped the post as it flew behind.
Drury made an excellent save to keep out Andrew Burns’ back post drive, but the visitors were soon further in front, with NOWAKOWSKI getting above Nathan Stainfield to power home Radcliffe’s resulting corner.
Town should have made it three when Conor Marshall slipped to allow Elam a free run, but the experienced winger blazed wide from 20 yards with the goal at his mercy.
The impromptu appearance of five ducks on the pitch briefly raised the spirits of Pilgrims’ supporters, but they had little else to cheer in the second half other than a lively 35-minute cameo from 17-year-old youth team starlet James Reed.
Reed instigated United’s two best chances in the closing stages. He picked out Marc Newsham, whose shot was blocked and then Reed teed up Gareth Jelleyman to cross for Weir-Daley to head wide.
Boston (4-3-3): Ricky Drury; Conor Marshall, Nathan Stainfield, Kevin Austin (Tom Ward 5), Gareth Jelleyman; Ben Milnes, Lee Canoville (James Reed 55), Josh Burge; Ryan Semple (Ben Fairclough 73), Spencer Weir-Daley, Marc Newsham. Subs (not used): Kallum Smith, Chris Hall.
Harrogate (4-4-2): Mark Cook; Andrew Burns, Alan White, Matt Bloomer, Craig Radcliffe; Adam Nowakowski (Tom Platt 84), Luke Dean, Paul Bolland, Lee Elam; Alex Meechan, Paul Beesley (Chib Chilaka 84). Subs (not used): Paul Brayson, Ashley Palmer, Rob Youhill.
Referee: Lee Betts