Shiels' goalscoring renaissance continues as skipper earns Boston United last-gasp point against Southport

Luke Shiels. Photo: Oliver AtkinLuke Shiels. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Luke Shiels. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Boston United 1 Southport 1

Skipper Luke Shiels headed home an 89th-minute leveller to earn Boston United a point against Southport.

Just as a miserable game of football looked set to end in defeat and just as Paul Cox looked set to suffer his first home reverse as Pilgrims boss the captain's renaissance continued as he nodded home his third goal at home in as many games.

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Tom Platt's 10th-minute own goal looked to be sending Southport home with three National League North points in a poor contest where the Pilgrims were sub-par to a man.

Apart from Shiels' finish, the one positive was Jay Rollins overcoming a long-term knee injury to make his first appearance of the season off the bench.

Former Pilgrim Jordan Archer put forward his entry for miss of the season with just five minutes on the clock.

Jack Doyle's free kick struck the underside of the Boston bar, bouncing down before looping up invitingly for the striker, who somehow headed over from inside the six yard box, unmarked and with the goal at his mercy.

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But the Port were gifted the lead in the 10th minute as Doug Tharme's long throw was flicked into his own net by Platt.

Connor Dimaio came within a whisker of levelling as his 20-yarder rattled the crossbar before the first half descended into a forgettable contest.

The visitors had no qualms about running down the clock, aided by a lack of action from referee Paul Brown, while the strong wind blowing against Boston saw their attempts to get the ball forward quickly come to nothing.

On the rare occasions United did look to test Southport poor passing proved costly, a five on three break ending with the Sandgrounders earning a free kick summing up the first 45 where Boston's Platt and Joe Leesley were both fortunate to still be on the pitch after some wild challenges.

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With the wind at their backs United started with more urgency in the second half, Shane Byrne's corner flashing across goal and Scott Duxbury's header clearing the bar as the screw appeared to be turned.

But the visitors continued to take their time with deadballs, still aided by referee Brown who - time and again - signalled to keeper Cameron Mason to get a move on, without acting further.

Southport can't be faulted for protecting their lead, any good team would do that. Indeed, they played within the boundaries dictated by a weak official, his flick of the wrist no incentive to speed up.

Long rangers from Duxbury and Fraser Preston were saved and fizzed wide respectively before Archer nodded over again at the opposite end.

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Just as it appeared that the game was won, Shiels pulled the Pilgrims level with a rare chance.

Leesley's cross was met by the kipper whose header crept in through the legs of Mason, who should have done better.

Poetic justice? The home crowd didn't care either way.

PILGRIMS: Dewhurst, Tootle, Duxbury, Platt, Garner, Shiels, Elliott, Dimaio (Rollins 62), F. Preston (J. Preston 85), Leesley, Byrne; Subs (not used): Ferguson, Sault, Crook.

SOUTHPORT: Mason, Oliver, J. Doyle, Anson, Tharme, Munro, Archer, Walton, Vassallo, Bainbridge, Edwards; Subs (not used): Benjamin, Woods, Buckley-Ricketts, Corrigan, McMillan.

REF: Paul Brown.

ATT: 1,552 (57).

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