AS the season draws to a close Scarborough Athletic’s players are looking to impress manager Rudy Funk ahead of next season’s inevitable squad reshuffle.
On the evidence of recent games, each player is putting in as much effort as possible to catch the eye of the new boss.
That effort and willingness to go the extra mile was evident yet again at Maltby Main on Saturday – Boro’s fourth match in just nine days.
That schedule has started to take its toll, and although Bill Law and skipper Chris Jenkinson returned to the side, keeper Tom Woodhead and Nick McNamara missed out.
McNamara will miss the rest of the season following a broken leg sustained last Thursday against Parkgate, and was replaced by youngster Luke Jones.
Woodhead’s replacement was Jack Dennison, a keeper from local football in Sheffield signed late on Friday evening after the league gave special dispensation for a keeper to be signed.
James Palmer was also unavailable, so Boro travelled with just four subs.
The home side included a familiar face in their side in Lee Whittington – the former Scarborough FC striker who played with Boro’s Denny Ingram and Ryan Blott.
Boro started the game shooting down the near 45 degree slope, and had the best of the early chances.
Gary Hepples, who had a storming game throughout, played a one-two with Blott before striking a shot just wide.
On 15 minutes only a post denied Jenkinson a goal – Belt’s corner the set-up for the captain’s powerful header.
Boro continued to move well through midfield, and after 24 minutes had a decent shout for a penalty for a foul on James Webb – but appeals were denied.
As Maltby cleared, a boot over the top found Adam Kennedy, who allowed the ball to bounce once before lobbing the onrushing Dennison.
Boro applied pressure again, and Blott’s left-foot drive was saved by James Bailey in the Maltby net.
In the second half chances were at a premium. Blott was lucky not to walk from the pitch when he kicked out at Greg Mason right under the nose of the referee following an altercation.
Both he and Mason escaped with yellows for their part in the melee.
Boro continued to play the better football, and on 69 minutes they made the pressure count when Richard Dunning turned inside on to his left foot, and curled a shot goalwards.
Bailey had the on-target effort covered, but a wicked deflection off Lee Mellon looped the ball over the keeper and into the net.
The two sides meet again at Queensgate this Saturday.