Boro bag late Trophy win at Stocksbridge

A last gasp Gary Bradshaw strike earned Scarborough Athletic a 4-3 success after a thrilling FA Trophy encounter at Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Boro pulled their way back from the precipice as they seemed down and out against their Evo-Stik Premier opponents. A battling comeback and flashes of attacking brilliance were enough to seal a place in the hat for Monday’s draw.

This was a performance that dazzled in attack, but defensively Rudy Funk’s men were far from at their best.

It would have been a travesty though had Boro not progressed. They dominated an untidy Stocksbridge side from start to finish, but they only just managed to wrestle themselves free of the Sheffield side’s steely grip.

Lewis Clarkson and Tom Davie both returned to the starting line-up and they played large roles in unlocking the home defence time and time again.

Boro made a lively start to the tie, so it came as a stunning blow when they fell behind after just eight minutes of play.

Striker Brett Bowden lumbered his way past defender Matty Plummer before letting fly with a beautifully-struck strike that sailed into the top corner of Joe Cracknell’s net.

Stunned into action, Boro turned up the heat, launching into a plethora of sharp attacks that had Stocksbridge chasing shadows.

Davie had two dangerous efforts, sandwiching a Gary Bradshaw finish that ended up in the net, but it was ruled out by the linesman’s flag.

With the Stocksbridge defence creaking, it was just a matter of time before Boro broke their duck.

In the end it was Clarkson who registered, collecting a ball in the box, rounding the keeper and then rolling home from a tight angle.

But the lead only lasted seven minutes. Stephen Hoyle found an inch of space from a deep corner and smashed it home beyond Cracknell.

The lead could have been stretched to two goals as Hoyle again ghosted onto another corner and planted his header just wide of the upright.

Boro finished the half well, but they had little to show for their efforts apart from two Clarkson efforts that were kept out by home keeper Ben Scott.

Normal service was resumed when the second half got underway. Ryan Williams and Clarkson both had good shots saved by the impressive Scott.

Again the pressure told when Bradshaw hit his first of the afternoon, hooking home Williams’ cross from the right.

This was followed by another helping of deja vu, with Stocksbridge immediately catching out Boro just minutes after their celebrations had ended.

Bowden sprung the off-side trap and picked out the bottom corner will another well-taken finish.

Boro rolled the dice with Ryan Blott and Steve Ridley being introduced.

Blott brought a degree of calmness to Boro’s frantic attacking play, with one of his first touches releasing Bradshaw, who returned the favour to Williams - the former Hull man converting well to make it 3-3.

By this point Stocksbridge were a spent force. They struggled to get a hold of the ball and when they did it was either given away or ballooned it out of play.

In stark contrast, Boro were going for the jugular with long waves of attacking play.

It was no surprise when, with just a minute left on the clock, Boro finally edged ahead for the first time.

Blott rolled Bradshaw into the box and the striker fired in a shot at goal. The effort struck the arm of a defender and referee Mr Hainsworth had no choice but to point at the spot.

Bradshaw stepped up and finished the penalty in usual fashion, earning jubilant celebrations and more importantly, the victory.