"I want to do it all again with Boston!" Scott Garner targets promotion repeat with United
Scott Garner has tasted the sweet highs and bitter lows of National League North promotion battles - but believes that taking Boston United into non-league’s top tier would be his greatest accomplishment yet.
The defender suffered play-off semi-final misery with the Pilgrims in 2015 and 2016, a penalty-shoot-out defeat to Chorley and a 3-2 aggregate loss at North Ferriby United as Boston threw away a 2-0 first leg lead.
He joined FC Halifax Town in 2016 and scored the winning goal as they beat Chorley to win the play-off final at the Shay later that season.
“I got the winner in extra time. That feeling should take some topping, but I want to do it all again with Boston,” Garner told The Standard.
“I love the club.”
Having seen his penalty saved in the shoot-out defeat against the Magpies with Boston, Garner joked that experience played apart in his memorable goal for Halifax.
“I think I was probably so desperate to avoid penalties again that I made sure I got my head on it,” he said.
With less than two months of the campaign to go, things are hotting up, but Garner - who rejoined the club in January - is brimming with excitement.
“This is the most exciting part of the season. It’s our chance to make a big statement,” he added.
“I think last time with Boston we had a great core but were probably missing two or three players.
“With this squad we’ve got people on the bench who can come on and change the game. We’ve got 18 players or so in this squad who are all good enough to be starting every week.
“You look at this squad and say ‘he can play higher, he can play higher’. There’s a lot of quality and ambition here.”
Boston’s previous play-off pushes have seen the squad packed with big personalities.
And the Pilgrims defender believes it is no different in Craig Elliott’s team.
“There are some massive characters in the dressing room, every bit as big as before,” he added.
“It’s an established group, they know each other and this league, but they’ve all proven themselves.”
Garner first joined the club as a centre back, and has been featuring in that role ever since his return.
However, he was converted into a midfielder by previous boss Dennis Greene, a role he confesses he loved to play.
“I loved playing midfield,” he said.
“You could be a free spirit, go anywhere, get involved and try to help the team.
“But it’s good in defence.
“We’ve got a lot of competition for places.
“I love walking down that tunnel knowing I have to play a good game. It makes us all stronger.”