Promotion heartbreak! Boston United beaten in final at York City

York City 2 Boston United 0

Shane Byrne went close with a free kick. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Shane Byrne went close with a free kick. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Another one to file under play-off heartbreak. Boston United's hopes of promotion to the National League were ended with a 2-0 defeat at York City.

Twenty years after the magic of Hayes there was to be no repeat. Not even a Bradford Park Avenue.

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No. This was the deflation and tears reminiscent of the seasons that were abruptly ended by Guiseley, Chorley, North Ferriby and Altrincham.

That loss against Altrincham at York Street in the final two years ago perhaps the best comparison as - once again - Boston failed to find top gear for the final, their first effort on goal coming in the 83rd minute.

But it wasn't all one-way traffic, Lenell John-Lewis's fifth minute opener put the hosts - spurred on by a raucous, sell-out crowd - in the driving seat.

The balance of play was even, United stopper Marcus Dewhust not forced into a save all game, and the hosts' second only arriving at the death as the Pilgrims pushed bodies forward.

It's more than fair to say neither York nor Boston had enjoyed the season they were hoping for when they kicked off their campaigns in August.

But 44 matches and nine months later these former Football League rivals - two sides who finished fifth and seventh, changed managers and lost players to historic betting bans - exited the tunnel dreaming of kissing the regional leagues goodbye.

The Minstermen needed less than five minutes to draw first blood, Boston failing to deal with Scott Barrow's long throw and John-Lewis slotting home from close range.

Skipper Luke Shiels hooked an effort over the bar as he looked to pull Boston level while Pady McLaughlin's effort was even wilder at the opposite end as he cut inside and unleashed an effort well wide.

Femi Seriki's long throw gave United leading scorer Danny Elliott his first and only real sniff of the afternoon, but he guided his effort through the packed box but wide of the upright.

And just as before, the Minstermen responded with McLaughlin sending a 20-yarder well over.

Clayton Donaldson showed better accuracy as his strike from the edge of the box beat Marcus Dewhurst but slapped against the Boston bar.

Normal service was resumed seconds later as John-Lewis smashed loose ball into the away end.

The second half saw Boston on the offensive, playing towards the away end where their supporters willed them on. Byrne's free kick evaded Pete Jameson, but it was too high for Shiels who could only head over

Elliott sent a curler wide as Barrow was laid on the floor, the York man's afternoon ended as he left moments later on a stretcher.

As the clcoked ticked down in second half York were happy to soak up pressure and look to break while Boston found their resolute backline hard to break down.

Too desperate for the perfect pass, Boston played the ball around on the edge of the area as the hosts happily waited to stick in a toe and clear.

The final 10 minutes saw the Pilgrims chasing it, Jameson tipping Byrne's free kick wide and holding onto Ntumba Massanka's effort on the spin.

But as Boston pushed on gaps opened and York doubled their advantage on the break, Maz Kouhyar's effort - perhaps attempted cross? - taking a wicked deflection on its way beyond Dewhurst.

That was it. United had no Adam Roscoe moments up their sleeves.

York look forward to the National League while Boston regroup and - buoyed by the feeling of togetherness they have built with their supporters in recent weeks - hope next year it can be them.