Thursday, 10 March 2011

Stafford Rangers 0 Boston United 4

The teamsheet featured
Spencer Weir-Dudley and Lee Conoville!
We set off for Stafford safe in the knowledge that the day surely couldn’t go any worse than our last attempt to go there. Had there been a second postponement, goodness knows where we would have ended up. It would have been £40 to drive 80 miles to watch the Barcelona-Arsenal match in a pub.

No such trouble thankfully. And no problems for rampant United, who shoved hapless Stafford a little closer to the Evo-Stik while cementing their own play-off aspirations. Ahead after 32 seconds, Boston didn’t look back, and led 4-0 at half-time. Disappointingly, they slipped into cruise control in a second-half reminiscent of Harrogate back in August and failed to boost the goal difference further.

Such midweek cross-country treks for rearranged fixtures, having set out for the original game only to suffer heartbreak when it was called off, are football’s greatest loyalty test. But United’s fans answered the call – I’d say we had in excess of 60 at Marston Road which, when you also factor in the attraction of televised Champions League football, isn’t at all bad.

As mentioned last time, Andy’s girlfriend hails from Stafford, and came along for the ride to visit her parents while we went to the match. A pretty sweet arrangement. I commended Andy on his choice of woman – I don’t know what the odds are of finding someone who lives down the road from one of our Conference North opponents but he’s done very well! We ran through the possibilities – Guiseley, Blyth, Worcester etc. – and quickly eliminated Gainsborough. Not really worth it.

Marston Road was a decent little venue though the weather was nippy. A choir of local chavs were the only ones who had answered the call for a better atmosphere following recent hidings. They were pretty gobby in the first-half but I swear they slinked inside to watch the Arsenal game during the second! Boston were heavy favourites and the steward near us didn’t mind admitting he’d wagered a cheeky fiver on a SEVEN-GOAL Boston win.

His gamble was looking a good one as United opened the scoring within a minute. I turned around just in time to see Adam Boyes slam an effort against the crossbar, before Jamie Green converted the rebound. Perfect start.

United attacked at will but couldn’t score again until the half-hour, when Anthony Church headed in Green’s corner. Miles Hunter sprung the offside trap three minutes later for 3-0, producing a cool finish past Lee Evans, who was looking more and more like his comedian namesake by the minute.

Hunter was a menace throughout the game and I’m delighted to see him being given a regular starting place, albeit only because of Danny Davidson’s suspension. Hopefully the form he’s shown recently will mean he becomes a more regular fixture in the starting XI. He worked especially well with Boyes here, who’s come on brilliantly since his move from Scunthorpe United.

The fourth goal was hilarious. Shaun Pearson hassled Evans and Martyn Naylor as James Cullingworth’s free-kick came over and Stafford defender Jermaine Johnson, in attempting to clear, just slashed the ball into the net.

The highlights of the second-half were few and far between. Namely, they were my steaming cup of Bovril at the start and the drunken antics of three of our younger supporters, apparently from Milton Keynes, towards the end. Their obsession with Gareth Jellyman is touching but just weird.

Still, drab second-half or not, we’re marching on.

Next Match: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Notts County on Saturday

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