Those in charge of the diary at the Yorkshire Post had entered fully into the Christmas spirit and handed me a few days off, allowing a first visit to York Street - or Mecca as it is sometimes known - since the goalless draw with FC Halifax on August Bank Holiday.
Desperate to get out of the house and avoid the ominous Tupperware containers of leftover turkey and ham, not to mention the disgustingly repetitive television, Andy, Greg and I toddled off to the Astroturf for a kick-around beforehand. Just for old times’ sake. It’s a shame EA Sports weren’t present with their cameras, because some of the moves and trickery we were producing was worthy of the new FIFA Street game and I’m sure we could have negotiated a fee for the adverts a little under that charged by Rooney and Wilshere.
The Pilgrim Lounge was reassuringly packed and I was optimistic of that famous Boxing Day bumper crowd and atmosphere, despite Eastwood’s lowly league position. The crowd was 1,247 which was, I’m told, about 500 more than the last home game - where everything murmured and muttered by the hardy souls present genuinely echoed around the empty stands.
This match with Eastwood - why it was Eastwood on Boxing Day and not Gainsborough, I really don’t know - represented the start of a four-game run for United from which anything less than 12 points would be a disappointment. We have another date with Eastwood on New Year’s Day, then back-to-back home matches with Blyth Spartans and Bishop’s Stortford that really should be bankers. 12 points would put us firmly back in play-off contention and hopefully a few of the doubting fans will return.
As though in sudden horrific realisation that ex-Pilgrim Francis Green had been left off the Christmas card list, United’s defence decided to let him score twice for Eastwood in the opening 12 minutes. Green joined the long list of former Boston players who, despite being sub-standard for the majority of their time with us, suddenly becomes world-class when playing against us. He muscled Lee Canoville off the ball and beat Paul Bastock with a low angled drive on two minutes and then flashed in a superb volley for the second ten minutes later.
This was ridiculous against the bottom-placed team and the Town End was mutinous, which is never pretty. From this point for the rest of the game, United laid siege to the visitors’ goal. Several chances went begging as United strolled through a very porous defence, before Danny Sleath pulled one back on 19 minutes with a well-placed low shot. You really couldn’t fault the entertainment.
Tom Ward equalised with a header from a Ben Milnes cross shortly before half-time and, locked at 2-2, the game sort of re-set itself. The second half was one-way traffic and two further strikes in two minutes sealed the points. Marc Newsham raced on to Jason Lee’s flick and drilled the ball under goalkeeper James Severn, and then the Gaffer, who mysteriously decided to play himself instead of new signing Leon Constantine, justified his start by scoring the fourth.
Constantine, who has literally had more clubs than I’ve had Christmas dinners, came on for the last few minutes but didn’t really do much and the spectacle sort of fizzled out, leaving us chatting away and catching up on each other’s news without paying much attention to the action.
It was alright on the night, as they say.
Next Match: The New Year period should allow at least two matches, starting with Huddersfield Town against Carlisle United on Friday night.