Bradford (Park Avenue) edged past Boston United to pick up their fifth win of the 2018/19 campaign.
The opening stages provided little in the way of entertainment, and it seemed like the two sides were feeling each other out in the opening exchanges.
The game suddenly burst into life in the 14th minute, when the hosts were awarded a penalty.
Oli Johnson slid the ball into the path of an on-rushing Conor Branson, who had made a late surge into the box. Former Bradford defender Ryan Qualter brought Branson down, allowing Oli Johnson to step up and convert from 12-yards.
The goal breathed new life into Bradford but also lit a spark in Boston, creating a much more entertaining affair.
Pilgrims stopper George Willis had to vacate the six-yard box in order to thwart Jake Beesley, who slipped in behind the Boston defence but couldn’t reach the ball ahead of the visitors’ goalkeeper.
After Nicky Wroe felled Brad Abbott on the edge of the box, Jack Marriott was given the opportunity to test Bradford with a free-kick. His deflected shot fell at the feet of Jonny Margetts, who after losing his footing, knocked the ball towards a grateful Steven Drench.
Wroe then split open the Boston defence with an exquisite through ball, but Beesley dragged his effort wide.
The on-loan marksman makes a habit of being in the right place at the right time, and he was alert to meet Wroe’s deflected free-kick. However, with bodies surrounding him, he poked wide.
Boston’s Margetts found himself in a similar position moments later, as Nicky Walker’s free-kick found its way to him after cannoning off the crossbar. Luca Havern did well to edge the winger wide, causing him to fire into the side-netting.
The Pilgrims found the side-netting again barely a minute later as Jack Marriott accelerated away from Mark Ross but couldn’t finish.
On the stroke of half-time, a delivery from Lewis Knight caused chaos and both Beesley and Wroe had shots blocked.
HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Boston United
The visitors were quick out of the blocks after the interval and Drench was forced to beat away a close-range header from Spencer Harris.
Bradford, however, almost caught Boston out with a swift counter-attack that resulted in Jamie Spencer coming close to doubling the hosts’ lead. Knight delivered from the right, but Spencer could only watch as his header clipped the post on its way wide.
Another quick break-away almost provided Bradford supporters with the second goal they craved, but Beesley fired wide after combining well with Johnson.
Veteran striker Craig Westcarr, formerly of Portsmouth and Walsall, was introduced on the hour mark and almost made an immediate impact. He spun away from Nicky Clee and drilled across the face of goal, but fellow substitute Cieron Keane failed to meet it.
As the hunt for an equaliser intensified, Bradford stopper Drench found himself being peppered with shots. The goalkeeper, however, is in a rich vein of form and continued to impress with saves to deny Walker and Andi Thanoj.
Keane and Westcarr had made Boston a much more dangerous attacking force following their introductions. The former nodded into the path of the latter but Westcarr blasted wide under pressure from Havern.
The Pilgrims seemingly ran out of steam as the final whistle approached and Bradford were successful in pinning the visitors in their own half for prolonged spells.
They eventually broke out of their own half and won a free-kick when Thanoj was tripped, but the midfielder’s chipped effort flew wide.
FULL-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Boston United
Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Clee, Branson, Killock (c), Havern, Wroe, Knight (Nowakowski 74’), Beesley, Johnson (Toulson 82’), Spencer (Dawson 66’).
Unused substitutes: Atkinson, Boshell.
Boston United: Willis (c), Davies, Gough, Thanoj, Harris, Qualter, Wafula (Johnson 80’), Abbott, Marriott (Westcarr 61’), Margetts (Keane 61’), Walker.
Unused substitutes: Middleton, Lees.
Referee: Dean Hulme
Report: Tom Coates