IT WAS billed as a "must-win" game.
A match under-pressure Accrington Stanley had to win against a team one point and one place above them.
But, after all the euphoria that a Reds' revival was on the way after the New Year's Day win over Wrexham, it was back down to earth with a huge bump on Saturday as it was the dreaded "relegation talk" which came to the fore after the Staffsmart Stadium defeat.
It was bitterly disappointing for those who made the 300-plus mile round trip to Lincolnshire.
They expected their team to continue where they left off in Wales and be celebrating a healthy leap of five places up the League Two table.
Instead now some bookmakers have slashed the odds from 16-1 for Stanley to be relegated at the start of the season to 2-1 for a swift return to the Conference.
And manager John Coleman must be scratching his head at what he can do to arrest the slide of one win in 12 league games - and eight defeats.
He is battling to get players in to boost his injury-plagued squad and he is desperate to get the players to believe again that they are the team who took the Nationwide Conference by storm last season and that they can get the Reds out of their current mess.
A win over Boston would have been the perfect way to do that but unfortunately the lethal League Two strikers once more punished a defensive mistake and to come away without a point was a massive blow.
This was despite the fact the Reds had the strongest team out for months with a bench full of senior professionals - including new signing Alan Rogers - instead of the teenagers Coleman had been forced to use.
And everything seemed stacked against the cash-strapped Pilgrims who had sold their main striker Anthony Elding and defender Tom Ryan before the game and had influential captain Paul Ellender suspended.
But, in face of adversity comes courage, and it was Boston who showed the fighting spirit to dig in and secure a vital three points from a scrappy game and leave Stanley well and truly in the doldrums.
Striker Drewe Broughton seems to be the scourge of Accrington
He scored the first goal against the Reds in the Football League this season when playing for Chester and he inflicted even greater damage with his 72nd minute winner on Saturday.
A series of Pilgrims' throw-ins sent Francis Green free and he evaded a couple of challenges to place a perfect ball for the unmarked Broughton to tap home from two yards.
It left Coleman ruing yet another defensive lapse and the Reds chief has demanded a reaction, threatening to ring the changes for the final 20 games of the season as the Reds try to get away from the drop zone.
"Boston will think it is a good goal they have scored but, from our point of view it was horrendous goal to concede," said the Reds chief. "In the main, we defended in the second half really well but if you go to sleep, you are going to get punished.
"It was a big lapse of concentration and we can't keep switching off like that - perhaps some of the players aren't good enough.
"We huffed and we puffed but really never tested their keeper enough."
Midfielder Jay Harris failed a late fitness test and Coleman felt sure this also played a part in the defeat.
"I think we missed Jay as both our midfielders were defensively minded and cancelled each other out. Perhaps if Jay was playing we would have got our passing game going. But it was a scrappy game with both teams fighting for their lives.
"I can't honestly remember our keeper Rob Elliot having a save to make but they have scored with a simple tap in and they shouldn't be getting in those situations.
"If we had won, Boston would have been dragged right back into it but they have now jumped up four or five places.
"They are not a better team than us but they used their tools better than us and we can't take any positives out of it as too many of our players were below par."
Stanley never really got out of first gear and, although there was plenty of effort, it was a dismal show with a physical Boston side never letting them rest.
The home team obviously knew that the Reds are one of the top scorers in the division and they made sure they restricted Stanley's chances.
And it seemed odds-on that the two teams with the worst defensive records in the league would end up with a goalless draw. Coleman would have settled for that - instead it was much worse.
The Reds did create the better chances in the first half with Michael Welch testing PFA Fans' Player of the Month for November Andy Marriott but the goalie kept hold of his low free kick.
Winger Shaun Whalley blasted well over in a good position and then a short corner was driven goalwards by Andy Todd but the former Burnley shot-stopper raced out and threw his body in front of the strike.
Boston had offered little but forced a series of corners - taken by another ex-Claret Brad Maylett - which did bounce around the area causing problems for the Reds' defence.
Both keepers, though, were mainly observers as both teams gave the ball away cheaply, failed to capitalise in decent positions and looked like sides battling at the wrong end of the table.
It was a dour first half and it had to get better after the break - but, it was Boston who created the better chances.
Boss Steve Evans must have reminded his side of the hurt they felt when Todd's last minute goal went in against them to seal a win at the FES earlier in the season.
And they made sure they pinned Stanley back in their own half after the break and made the Reds defend deeper and deeper.
Within a minute of the restart, Maylett's quickly taken free kick found the dangerous Green and he chipped the ball over the outrushing Elliot and it looked like it would roll into the net - until defender Phil Edwards chased back and cleared.
Broughton's free diving header was across the goal rather than on target as the host side contained the Reds in their own half.
And, even when the visitors did break, they couldn't come up with the goods.
Striker Paul Mullin was despairing as he raced in at the near post after Robbie Williams had charged forward - but the midfielder's final cross was poor.
Then Andy Procter nearly took the head off Boston defender Jason Kennedy with a blistering drive which was on target but hit the home player and got nowhere near goal.
Coleman tried to change it around replacing striker David Brown, who scored the two late goals against Wrexham and had a 58th minute chance which bounced into Marriott's arms, with Andy Mangan much to Brown's obvious frustration.
But it couldn't alter things for the Reds as Boston continued to get closer and closer with Broughton's 25-yard curling volley being caught by Elliot and David Galbraith's low drive deflected just wide.
Then came the decisive goal with Broughton celebrating what must have been one of the easiest goals of his career.
Stanley went on the hunt in the last 10 minutes but just nothing came off for them. They forced three corners in the final minutes with even keeper Elliot coming up in the third minute of injury time but there was no late saviour this time for the Reds.
Boston boss Evans admitted it was a huge win for his side, which eases some of the pressure as they jumped from 21st to 17th place while other teams were involved in FA Cup action.
"I felt we deserved the three points and if we had taken the clear-cut chances that Broughton and Green had created for themselves against Accrington, it could have been 3-0," he said.
"However, a win of any kind in Coca-Cola League Two is a good one, especially on the back of such a difficult week when we had no option but to sell some of our players."