Athletic crumble after flying start

SCARBOROUGH Athletic cast away a comfortable four-goal advantage in a dismal climax against struggling Hallam.

In what should have been a cruise for Paul Olsson’s men, they sunk in a woeful final 20 minutes, handing a poor visiting side a point.

Olsson and the home supporters looked on in disbelief as Boro switched neatly from the sublime to the absolutely ridiculous.

The game had looked to be dead and buried at 4-0, but in truth it could have been so many more as Boro tore their opponents to shreds in the first 70 minutes of the match.

Inspired by returning striker Ryan Medcalf, partner Ryan Blott and enigmatic midfielder Nathan Hotte, the hosts could have easily bagged an avalanche of goals.

It only took Medcalf a handful of minutes before he was back shining in a Boro shirt after his return from Barton Town.

He was unlucky not to score in the first five minutes, as he ghosted onto a Blott cross and saw his snatched effort well saved by keeper Martin Taylor.

At the other end debutant keeper Tom Nicholson, a last-gasp signing after injury to Tom Woodhead, should have been tested minutes later. But Simon Asquith lobbed well wide when clean through.

Things then quietened down for Nicholson, as Boro began to turn the screw.

They looked to have scored when Hotte delivered a temping low cross, Blott’s shot was unbelievably saved and Medcalf poked the rebound just wide.

The breakthrough was finally made 21 minutes in, through more good link-up between Blott and Medcalf.

Blott burst clear of the defence and rolled the ball across the area. Hotte outmuscled his man, allowing Medcalf to smash home.

Blott, Medcalf and Gary Hepples then went close in the moments that followed, before Boro’s second arrived in the 36th minute.

More Blott wizardry freed Medcalf to collect, run clear and roll home.

Medcalf could have completed his treble just before the break, when he latched onto another Blott cross.

His effort was saved and the ball was nicked off Hotte’s toe before he could pounce.

Boro continued where they had left off when the new half got underway.

An early scare aside, when Hallam’s Jordan Turner went close, Boro swooped with just a couple of minutes played to make it 3-0.

Brent Leister sent Gary Hepples through on goal and he dinked delightfully over Taylor and into the net.

Boro were given the odd shaky moment, with Asquith causing the odd problem, but a clean-sheet did look to be on the cards.

And more goals also seemed on the menu, as Blott, Richard Dunning and Medcalf all tested Taylor.

A fourth did come just after the hour, and it was Medcalf who sealed his third.

Leister charged through the Hallam defence and the ball broke kindly in the six-yard box. Medcalf shook off a defender and the in-flight Leister to wrap up his treble.

This was the last contribution of the Medcalf, as he and Blott were given a break, allowing Rob Northen and Bill Law the chance to shine.

The cheers soon began to turn into groans though, as Boro fell apart as an attacking threat and crumbled at the back.

With 20 minutes left, the tide began to change as the ball fell to Phil Reynolds on the edge of the Boro box and he lashed home.

Then, five minutes later, Boro continued to slack off at the back and Turner made it 4-2.

A minute after this and the lead was trimmed back to one. New keeper Nicholson spilled in the box and Lee Cooksey mopped up.

Boro should have wrapped things up after that, but the attacking farce continued to worsen. Law’s header was destined for the net when it hit Northen and bounced clear.

Northen then played a part in Hallam’s leveller. Instead of keeping the ball in added time, he elected to cross into an empty box.

Hallam’s Taylor hoisted clear, Turner was too strong for Mike Gibson and the ball found its way into the bottom corner.