Fraser Preston scores last gasp winner as Boston United secure first win of season against 10-man Curzon Ashton

Fraser Preston. Photo: Oliver AtkinFraser Preston. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Fraser Preston. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Boston United 2 Curzon Ashton 1

Fraser Preston was the stoppage-time hero as Boston United secured their first win of the National League North season in dramatic style.

Danny Elliott's first-half penalty looked to have claimed the points before a late sucker punch from Adam Thomas looked to have earned 10-man Curzon Ashton the draw.

However, there was still time for one final twist.

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One final throw of the dice Paul Green's low cross beat all in the box and Keenan Ferguson's drilled return was slammed home by Preston with seconds of the three added minutes left.

The Pilgrims couldn't have looked more different to the sluggish, shackled side which were beaten here at the Jakemans Community Stadium by Spennymoor a fortnight earlier.

This was free-flowing, exciting, attacking football that played to the strengths of the side, albeit still an injury ravaged one, against a Nash team which beat Chester 3-0 in midweek.

The players looked like new men and the new men - Jake Leake and George Sykes-Kenworthy - looked every bit as if they belonged.

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The one criticism - there always has to be criticisms in football - was that as the clocked ticked to 90 minutes wasted opportunities almost proved costly.

Sidelined stopper Peter Crook was ruled out after injuring his arm saving Nick Haughton's penalty in the defeat a Fylde a week earlier, joining Matt Tootle, Joe Leesley, Scott Duxbury and Rollins on the treatment table.

This allowed Sykes-Kenworthy to make his debut between the posts while Leake - equally as impressive going forward as he was defending - got the nod after joining on a month's loan from Hull City's under 23s.

Curzon's squad included three former Pilgrims, Dominic Knowles, Matt Challoner and Jack Dyche each making their visit to the new ground.

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Both sides carved out a chance in the first 60 seconds, Sykes-Kenworthy settling in with an early save from Dale Whitham's 20 yarder.

Elliott should have done better when a long punt fell to the striker who scuffed his shot with a clear sight of goal.

Knowles got into the right position to block Connor Dimaio's volley from a well-worked Shane Byrne corner as the hosts began to find their feet.

Elliott went close twice before opening the scoring in the 34th minute.

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Leake's direct run and one-two with Elliott saw the striker head over, the same player going close with a cheeky overhead kick after connecting with another Byrne dead ball.

But he was finally celebrating his third of the season from the spot, firing past Chris Renshaw after Jordan Burrow had taken a boot to the head from Marcus Poscha.

The Boston target man nicked in first as the Curzon man looked to clear. It was a unintentional, but Tom Kirk had little option but to point to the spot.

Prior to that goal, Sykes-Kenworthy pulled off the save of the first half to deny Jack McKay, who cut in after being granted far too much space down the United right.

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With the wind in their sails, the Pilgrims saw Jake Wright jnr smash an effort against the bar after a clever cutback from Leake, while Renshaw ended the half parrying a long-distance Elliott drive.

United continued in the same vein in the second half, Luke Shiels' downward header bouncing up and over the bar.

The Nash's Scott Wilson received a straight red for an aerial coming together which left Wright jnr flattened.

United looked to make the most of the man advantage but, when put through by Shiels, Elliott - when he looked certain to score - miscued and fluffed his effort towards Renshaw.

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But if anything, the red card galvanised Curzon. Sykes-Kenworthy was called upon to tip Whitham's drive wide, body block a Craig Hobson effort and guide a looping Knowles strike over.

That pressure finally paid off in the 85th minute as Thomas levelled. Boston looked to have dealt with a goalmouth scramble but as McKay's drive deflected onto the bar it landed kindly for his teammate.

Game over? Not when Fraser Preston has the chance to have his say.

PILGRIMS: Sykes-Kenworthy, Platt, Garner, Shiels (F. Preston 88), Burrow, Wright Jnr (J. Preston 76), Ferguson, Elliott (Green 83), Dimaio, Byrne, Leake; Subs (not used): Thanoj, Wright Snr.

CURZON: Renshaw, Challoner, Waters, Poscha, Thomas, Whitham, Knowles, Curran (Hobson 72), McKay, Wilson, Daly (Mahon 68); Subs (not used): Flowers, Dyche.

REF: Tom Kirk.

ATT: Att: 1,497 (21).