Preston makes history, Elliott impresses and fans have their day as Boston United beat Lincoln City
Jordan Preston arrived at Boston United eager to write his name into the history books. It took him just 12 minutes to complete his mission - and get the Pilgrims party started.
Seventeen months after becoming the last person to score in front of fans at York Street, then as a Gateshead player, the summer signing was the first to find the net with a crowd in attendance at the Pilgrims' new Jakemans Community Stadium.
It was a move made in Barnsley as Lincoln City keeper Sam Long did well to parry a curler from, Fraser Preston. But big brother was watching and Jordan reacted first to force home the loose ball.
An audible cheer - something sadly missing from the Pilgrims' 2019-20 play-offs and subsequent campaign last year - rose from the terraces. Football was back.
The first eager fans began being escorted to their seats around 90 minutes before kick off, taking in their new surroundings and posing for photos. There'll be a lot of new Facebook profile pics tonight.
As amber and black and red and white shirts began to fill the stadium (well, as much as Covid restrictions allow) the long-missed football banter returned.
All three sides of the stadium applauded in unison as Seb Noble, on the roving mic, wished Imps boss Michael Appleton a speedy recovery after his testicular cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery which kept him out of the dug-out today.
Then normal business resumed as the 'we're the Pride of Lincolnshire' chants filled the air, followed an admiring 'one David Newton'.
Typically, the Pilgrims chairman - whose vision and eight years of hard work turned blueprints into reality - had nipped into the control room moments earlier.
Thankfully, the timing was better on the pitch - at both ends.
Skipper Luke Shiels and Remy Longdon gave no ground in a crunching exchange before Danny Elliott doubled the lead in the 14th minute, wrongfooting Long after being slipped in by Scott Duxbury.
Elliott continued to endear himself to the home crowd with a header which hit the post and a drive that flew inches wide after he left Lincoln's mysteriously-named Trialist B flat on his backside.
He finally netted his second - and Boston's third - of the half in the final minute, a glancing header to match Duxbury's teasing cross.
The mood was soured six minutes into the second half as a dreadful, late challenge from Lincoln's first-year scholar Kyrell Wheatley ended Shiels' afternoon.
Premier League referee Kevin Friend brandished red before Shiels was assisted off the pitch, the extent of his damage to be surveyed.
For the first time, the crowd needed a lift. Cue Jordan Burrow.
The former Imps striker headed home a trademark finish at the back post following Joe Leesley's deep cross to make it four.
It would have been five were it not for Long getting down well to push away Connor Dimaio's effort after Lincoln failed to clear a corner.
In a rare attacking moment the League One club had three sights of goal, but blocks from the Boston defence - legs, thighs and bodies in the right places - meant trilaist keeper Josh Barnes' afternoon remained a quiet one.
As action returned to the Town End Duxbury almost capped off another fine performance with a goal, but his header sailed well over the City bar, Leesley's powerful drive going the same way.
But all good shows deserve an encore and with the final kick off the game Jake Wright slid in to fire a powerful effort beyond the dive of Long.
The full time whistle brought further cheers and afforded the fans to tick another new ground off their bucket list. It may not always be like this, but as home debuts go it was a decent day for Preston, Elliott and the Jakemans Community Stadium crowd.
PILGRIMS: Crook (Barnes HT), Tootle (Rollins 78), Duxbury, Platt, Garner, Shiels (Trialist A 53), Green (Leesley HT), Elliott (Wright 64), J. Preston (Burrow HT), F. Preston (Hawkridge HT), Byrne (Dimaio 71).
LINCOLN: First half - Long, Jackson, Hopper, Maguire, Trialist A, Bramall, Longdon, McGranles, Trialist B, Bridcutt, Brooks; Second half - Long, Trialist A, Trialist B, Trialist C, Melbourne, Sanders, Edun, Jones, Wheatley, Fiorini, Draper; Subs (not used): Angol, Boylan.
REF: Kevin Friend.
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