Purcell automatic: Boro’s future looks a little brighter after 30-yard beauty from loanee

George Purcell
George Purcell

IT was not quite in the same league as Matt Smart’s 60-yard winner at Fleetwood last week, but on Saturday Boro’ fans were treated to another stunning goal, this time from George Purcell, and more importantly another three points.

Not since October had Boro’ managed to pick up three points at Priory Lane.

Boro fans celebrate George Purcell's goal

Boro fans celebrate George Purcell's goal

That they were achieved with such panache and grit was something of a bonus after a grim winter in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Garry Wilson’s men went behind shortly after the half hour but within five minutes they had turned the tables thanks to Gary Elphick’s close-range effort and George Purcell’s fierce strike.

After resisting a spell of second-half pressure, Matt Crabb’s pinpoint shot put the hosts in control 11 minutes from time and Jamie Taylor gift-wrapped the win moments before the whistle.

Boss Wilson said afterwards, “It’s amazing the difference a week in football can make and it makes a huge difference to how the players can play.

Boro' striker Richard Pacquette keeps possession

Boro' striker Richard Pacquette keeps possession

“Some of the goals today were of the highest quality and we’re showing great signs of confidence.”

Rikki Banks returned in goal after an absence of five league games and head coach Nick Greenwood paid tribute to the Sports defence.

He said, “Rikki had a couple of catches to make and a few decisions, but he didn’t really have a point-blank save to make which is credit to the back line and they way we defended in front of the back line as well.”

But Boro’ began slowly against a Southport side which had only managed nine away goals all season.

A scrappy opening spell was made all-the-more painful in the 33rd minute when Neil Jenkins was adjudged to have felled Shaun Whalley in the area, a decision which appeared to be a little dubious. But Whalley converted to hand the Sandgrounders the lead.

A quick response was vital and it arrived just three minutes later. Jamie Taylor’s free kick from the left was met by Eddie Hutchinson and Gary Elphick pounced to bundle home from under the ‘keeper’s nose.

Scarcely 60 seconds after the equaliser Boro’ were in front when the effective George Purcell bounded down the left flank before unleashing a rasping drive which appeared to take a slight deflection on its way into the roof of the net.

After the break Wilson’s men were forced to withstand a concerted spell of Southport pressure, but so often their cutting edge was severely lacking. Banks was never extended and Boro’ duly punished them on the break.

Taylor fed Matt Crabb on the edge of the area and the midfielder fired an unstoppable shot into the stanchion to earn some valuable breathing space.

After spurning one opportunity four minutes from time the irrepressible Taylor took his chance moments later, placing a smart strike into the bottom corner to earn his side back to back victories for the first time since September.

• BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER - BOROUGH 4, SOUTHPORT 1

Borough: Banks 7, Baker 7, Austin 7 Elphick 8, Jenkins 7 (Demetriou, 90), Taylor 8, Hutchinson 7, Smart 7, Crabb 7 (Strevett, 87), Purcell 8, Pacquette 7 (Brinkhurst, 84).

Subs not used: Johnson, Weatherstone.

Booked: Pacquette, Jenkins.

Goals: Elphick 36, Purcell 37, Crabb 79, Taylor 88.

MoM: Gary Elphick, totally dominant at the back, crucial goal.

Southport: McMillan, Lee, Lever (Davis 44), Flynn, Marsh-Evans, Moogan, Barratt, Turner, Ledsham (Gray, 68), Whalley, McNeil (Daly, 65). Subs not used: Dickinson, Powell.

Booked: Barratt, Turner.

Goals: Whalley 33.

Referee: Mr A Bennett 5, Att: 1,004.