Home comforts pay off for Boston United as they put error behind them to beat Telford
First, the good news. Boston United are up to 10th in the National League North, a point off the play-offs with a game in hand after recording their fifth straight home win.
The bad? Their 4-1 victory over second-bottom AFC Telford United should have been a lot easier than the Pilgrims made it.
Danny Elliott netted twice in the opening 20 minutes to take his staggering tally to 10 goals in 11 games and, at that stage, there looked to be only one winner. All thoughts of Saturday's defeat at Gateshead should have been brushed aside.
But a horrendous error from returning keeper Peter Crook turned the game on its head and gave Dennis Greene's Bucks a spring to their step which they maintained until late goals from Joe Leesley and Jake Wright jnr added a flattering look to the scoreline.
Manager Craig Elliott rang out the changes following Saturday's defeat in the north east, with Crook returning between the sticks and Keenan Ferguson and Jake Leake back in the full back roles. Tom Platt was named in midfield with Leesley back as part of a front three.
George Sykes-Kenworthy, Scott Duxbury, Jordan Burrow and Luke Spokes missed out with Matt Tootle unavailable due to illness.
Boston began at full pelt and took a 2-0 lead within 20 minutes... and it should have been more.
Paul Green smashed a tight-angled effort onto the post before Elliott opened the scoring in the seventh minute, collecting Joe Leesley's through ball and firing beyond Russell Griffiths.
The Bucks keeper had to scramble the ball off his line after almost allowing a 20-yard Platt drive slip through his legs.
Platt saw a rising drive fly over the bar before Elliott added a second.
Leesley's free kick rebounded into play off the bar before Scott Garner's follow up was forced over the line by Elliott.
Griffiths denied Elliott his hat-trick by parrying a long-ranger as Telford looked all but beaten.
But the Bucks were handed a lifeline on the half hour following a clanger from keeper Crook.
Scuffing a routine clearance the ball trickled across his goal and gifted Jason Oswell the simplest of tap-ins.
Suddenly the complexion of the game changed, Boston were on the back foot and had something to lose.
Griffiths was caled upon to make a superb stop, tipping Leesley's header onto his bar, but it was Boston and not the Bucks, who were more grateful for that half time whistle.
The second half began with Telford pushing for that equaliser, Crook holding on to Kai Williams' goalbound effort.
The Bucks continued to press and test the nervy United but without any real joy, the old heads of the outstanding Green and Leesley guiding their teammates through the tough spells.
Leesley gave the hosts breathing space in the 80th minute as he hammered home a third on the turn following good build up play involving Burrow and Green.
And it was four with four to go as Wright smashed home a penalty after being tripped in the box.
Deep breath and onto the next one.
PILGRIMS: Crook, Platt, Garner, Shiels, Green, Ferguson, Elliott (Wright jnr), F. Preston (Burrow 78), Leesley, Byrne, Leake (Duxbury 89); Subs (not used): Duxbury, J. Preston, Spokes.
TELFORD: Griffiths, Birch (Bennett 77), White, Streete, Durrell (McHale 73), Walker, Oswell, Williams, Berkoe, Roberts, Antwi; Subs (not used): Abbey, Byrne, Bood.
REF: Paul Cooper.
ATT: 1,436 (27).