“Shit!! Shit!! You’re shit, Reds!”
And you thought Boston fans were demanding arseholes? Tell that to the vein-popping racialist who, after chastising Kevin Austin for having the audacity to parade about in his NON-WHITE skin like he FUCKING OWNED THE PLACE, decided to boo his own team after 93 minutes of a ten month season after they were beaten by a ludicrously fortunate Kevin Holsgrove winner in injury time, a goal that had five Boston fans scaling the perimeter fence with delight and another (it looked like Scotty Walds) waving his top over his head and risking serious sunburn in the process.
“Bloody rubbish! Shit!” yelled the spittle-flecking Workington fan. He’d turned to his friend as Holsgrove’s winner dribbled pathetically over the line and asserted it was ‘the worst goal he’d ever seen, and on that he was probably right. Boston’s fortune could be seen in Jason Lee’s arched eyebrows and cheeky grin after the final whistle. But it was just that: an unexpected three points for United, and a very unlucky defeat for the Reds. For all the fan’s anger, his side had comfortably repelled United’s makeshift attack and it was only a freak pinball incident and a harsh penalty decision that saw his side trudging off with nothing to show for their shift. Hardly worthy of condemnation.
But opening day can bring out the worst in people, and little wonder. It’s a day when hopes and expectations are brutally crushed; a day when fans up and down the country realise that their side hasn’t suddenly stopped being average over the summer. Ask Grimsby supporters. However, opening day 2011/2012 was a unique experience for Boston fans: they got to travel to Borough Park and actually see a pitch made of grass. Hope you got lots of photos for the album, kids.
Other sightseeing opportunities? United travelled on the day in their brand new coach which, if Twitter is to be believed, is segregated by coolness, unlike the BUSA bus. It’s still the best coach in the league, but all those hours crammed on it can’t have been good for Mikel Suarez, for he took to the field and immediately suffered a twanged leg-string that will see him sidelined for a few weeks. He was replaced by Julian Joachim, who suffered an injury of his own later on, necessitating today’s signing of Lawrie Dudfield.
With that reshuffle, United’s targetman-based gameplan was gone, and instead what ensued was a lively, if ultimately futile, battle of the back-lines, with Boston pinned back in their own half for the first twenty minutes until they eventually figured out that Kevin Holsgrove would work as a wide outlet.
The new signing already has ‘cult status’ written all over him, if only for his impressively bonkers decision to commute from the Wirral, and his candidacy for the affections of the Town End was boosted by a lively performance that helped relieve some of the pressure on United’s defence.
Speculative long-range punts aside, stalemate looked the most likely outcome as the half drew to a close, but with impsTALK in the queue for a coffee and a lukewarm cheeseburger, Joachim smacked a shot that hit Kyle May on the arm. And, despite what the official rules of football say about handballs having to be deliberate, every fan, pundit and match official knows that a ball striking an arm in the penalty area is a foul because That’s Just The Way It Is.
Holsgrove stepped up, scored the penalty, and promptly retreated to the dressing room with the rest of the players for a chat with his manager and a half-time orange. Workington returned for the second-half desperate to level things up and immediately began pressing United back. They had to get past Kevin Austin first, however, and while United’s defender wasn’t making any friends on the pitch he certainly played a vital role in blunting their advances.
Until, that is, twenty minutes from time when – who else? – Kevin Holsgrove pushed Lee Andrews over in the box, conceding a penalty that was, in all honestly, more of a cert than Boston’s. Arnison’s penalty was a beauty, smashed high and hard to Bastock’s right. You don’t save those.
United pressed forward in the final minutes, and, as the game entered injury time, Holsgrove worked into some space and unleashed, from a preposterous distance, a spectacularly hopeless shot that rolled, very slowly, into the grateful arms of Aaron Taylor, eliciting frustrated grumbles from United fans. If Holsgrove heard those moans, he certainly wasn’t deterred from repeating the trick a couple of minutes later, this time on the left of the penalty area. His shot from outside the area was equally as rubbish, except this time it took a deflection and reluctantly spun goalwards as Taylor sank to the ground helplessly, watching in horror as the ball rolled slowly into the net.
So – a fortunate three points. United, by their own admission, didn’t play well but, it has to be said, nor did Workington. And it is often said that the best sides can play poorly and steal the points – after a mixed pre-season with doom-laden predictions of regression, this will surely not be lost on Pilgrims fans.
Man of the match: Kevin Austin
Tempting as it is to hand it to Holsgrove for such an encouraging debut, his winner was a bit like Prince William’s seduction of Kate Middleton: a real ‘how the fuck did he do that?’ moment. Plus he conceded a penalty. Meanwhile, Austin’s powerful, and at times niggling, presence helped limit Workington to token efforts on goal, setting United up to be in a position to nick the points. Bosh.