IF you harbour ambitions of promotion then outfits like Nostell need to be comfortably despatched.
Scarborough Athletic did it to Long Eaton on Saturday, but the consistency went missing in last night’s home game, as Nostell were allowed to hold out for a point.
Not only did Boro gift their opponents a two-goal lead, but they then shut down totally after levelling, their only urgency arriving in a frenetic final few minutes.
Yes, they did show enough character to haul themselves back into the match, but buoyed by this and with Nostell at their mercy, the killer blow just didn’t come.
It looked as though it would be a simple stroll in the park in the early moments, as the link-up play between Ryan Blott and new arrivals Matt Plummer and Adam Lee, sliced a static home defence to pieces.
Plummer came the closest, dancing onto a Lee ball and curling just over.
Then, a hush descended after 10 minutes, as Boro’s defence parted like the Red Sea and a baffled Brad Thompson had enough time and space to smash home.
Then, the silence became even more deafening when Graham Marchant looked up 40 yards from goal and lifted a delicious lob over a stranded Kevin Martin.
A lesser team may have crumbled under this pressure, but Boro swiftly set about a comeback.
Blott was felled on the edge of the box and he brushed himself down to sweep home the resulting free-kick.
Then a delightful build-up led to Blott feeding Lee inside the box. He neatly rounded the keeper and bagged his third in just two outings.
Blott, exuding confidence, then burst onto a Plummer ball and drilled at goal, only to be denied by the outstretched toe of keeper Gavin Ansley.
The only trouble Nostell caused was through Boro errors, as Tony Hackworth and Martin got in a muddle, but the keeper fortunately managed to scoop off his line.
Blott saw another free-kick held, before the striker wriggled onto a long-ball. He was felled in the process by a clumsy challenge by the ungainly Matt Wilkinson.
Strangely, and despite Blott being through on goal, the Nostell defender was only given a yellow card rather than being dismissed to the showers.
If the first half was action packed, the second was the complete opposite, as little or nothing happened until Boro finally woke from their slumber.
Nostell seemed content with kicking anything that moved and then launching the ball long, not making for the most asthetically pleasing of second halves.
Eventually Boro did begin to realise that the points wouldn’t fall into their lap and they began to assert some pressure.
Blott cut inside, but his effort skewed just wide and, after a huge melee in the box, Lee diverted a shot against the bar, but the ball bounced to safety.
Unbelievably, Nostell did cope with the pressure to cling on for a point, though a lack of adventure and urgency on a crisp evening was the real reason that Boro didn’t leave with all three.