Following the epic voyage to Workington, the Good Ship Pilgrim was back in home port on Tuesday night as we welcomed Histon for the first time. There were a few running repairs to be made - with the forward cannon of Mikel Suarez, Mickey Stones and Julian Joachim needing urgent attention and damage in the engine room to Ryan Semple still being patched up. Danny Sleath is still missing out in the Orient, presumed drowned. Thankfully, Lawrie Dudfield, the veteran of many a Boston adventure, had returned to take grasp of the tiller.
The evening’s first delight came in seeing my regular column in the programme for the first time, though I instantly regretted sending in the mugshot I did. With a glowing red nose and tatty facial hair it looked, at best, as though I’m under the weather and, at worst, as though I’ve had one too many whiskies. “You look like a smackhead,” Pickwell chimed in, making me feel much better about myself. I hope it went down well. I saw one guy reading it and believe he raised a slight smile at something I’d written, but then he could have been laughing at the grotesque red beast face at the top of the page.
Histon is surely one of the smallest places Boston have ever played against. It is little more than a village and no doubt the 31 travelling fans in the York Street stand had left behind a ghost town. Business and commerce in the place must have ground to a halt in their absence. Small urchins roamed around looking for someone to cook them dinner. The tumbleweeds are now in firm control.
Histon and Impington, as they are lumped together on the Wikipedia entry, presumably for the purposes of search engine optimisation, are about the size of Kirton and Wyberton combined. At least the priorities are right - the wiki entry begins: “Over the years the two villages have grown and entwined together, to such an extent that many villagers today do not know where one ends and the other begins. They contain a combined total of SIX pubs. They have a Nursery, Infants', Junior, and Secondary school.” Beer before education!
But we were quickly forced to remember that our opponents have only just dropped down from the Conference and, in the not too distant past, they dumped Leeds United out of the FA Cup. Defensive communications broke down completely on four minutes, allowing Omer Riza to outpace Kevin Austin and square for Dan Holman to open the scoring.
The Town End, fairly packed, had been in very good voice at the start but was reduced to stunned silence by the ease of Histon’s goal. The rest of the half was a Boston bombardment - Austin and Liam Parker spent more time in the opponent’s half as corners and free-kicks were swung in with increasing frequency. We gradually recovered our vocal backing, though there was strictly no bouncing, to my great disappointment. Obviously too early in the season for such hi-jinx.
Mad Cap’n Canoville was forced off with a worrying injury which was later confirmed as medial knee ligament damage. He was caught by a Histon player as he received a hospital pass on the right wing and resigned himself to sitting, alone, in the Fantasy Island stand for the rest of the game.
Dudfield’s influence came to the fore with the equaliser on 26 minutes as he did what the rest of our strikeforce can’t and nodded a long ball into Marc Newsham’s path. Jesus, as he is nicknamed for reasons I can no longer remember, finished with assurance and I grabbed the opportunity to swing from the rusty Town End rafters for the first of hopefully many times this season.
Histon’s goalkeeper, the brilliantly named Jorg Stadelmann, pulled off a succession of first-rate saves to prevent Boston going in front, but he was guilty of some terrible time-wasting. It was as though they’d come for the draw or something. A vivid red moon rose above the York Street Stand during the second-half, though it could perhaps have been the sun, such was Stadelmann’s unwillingness to hurry.
Kevin Holsgrove showed his scoring touch at the weekend, and reasserted his class with a steady flow of drag-backs, soul rolls and pirouettes. He had the slipperiness of a plasma screen-looting scally evading the fuzz on the streets of Toxteth. Sadly, there was no last-minute winner on this occasion and mixed feelings at the final whistle. Two points dropped, yes, but there’s an awful lot of football to be played yet.
Next Match: At home to Vauxhall Motors on Saturday.