Boro cling on for vital victory

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The nerves were jangling on Tuesday evening as Scarborough Athletic extended their lead at the top of the NCEL Premier table to six points.

Opponents Barton Town possibly did enough to wrestle a point away from Rudy Funk’s men at a chilly Queensgate, but Boro managed to hold firm for a unaesthetic success.

Andy Milne was still struggling with a knock and Louis Horne was an absentee, so veteran Darren Kelly slotted in alongside Matty Plummer in the heart of the defence.

Apart from this alteration, Boro fielded the same side as the one that claimed a share of the spoils in the thrilling derby battle against Bridlington Town on Saturday.

Though it seemed to be a case of after the lord mayor’s show, as Boro’s usual cohesion and attacking flair seemed sadly lacking.

After Jimmy Beadle’s rasping free-kick was held by Barton keeper Ben White, it was the visitors who began to dominate.

Winger Adam Crane was sent clear of the Boro defence, he managed to lob Arran Reid, but the ball bounced just wide of the upright.

More chances followed for Barton, but courageous defending restricted them to weak efforts or drives from distance.

Teams challenging for honours usually have equal measures of quality and fortune in their lockers. Boro showed a useful dose of the latter when they finally got going.

The industrious Tony Hackworth sent a low ball into a crowded area and Barton defender Craig Suddaby deflected it into the back of the net.

Ashley Lattimore sent a shot just past the post as Barton resumed where they had left off, then Reid made a pair of good saves from the boot of Suddaby and Declan Marshall.

The riot act was read to Boro’s players at the break, but it didn’t seem to make a lot of difference, with Gareth Owen shooting over after a handful of seconds.

Kelly then had to make a saving headed challenge as Boro continued to creak worryingly.

The next goal looked odds on to be a Barton one, so it was something as a treat for the decent home turnout when a swift counter-attack allowed Boro to double their lead.

Some neat passing play freed up Hackworth to charge in on goal and the striker clipped the ball neatly over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net.

Both teams made changes to their line-ups after this and it was Barton’s that paid off.

Gareth Barlow bustled his way past Paddy Miller and into the Boro box and sub Simon Spencer calmly polished off his cross from close range.

Boro substitute Robbie Hawkes then jigged his way into space and delivered for Blott, who lifted his shot over the bar.

Blott was unlucky again soon after when Ash Dexter bundled his flick from a Hackworth ball off the line.

The nails were bitten down to the quick in the final few seconds though as Barton threw the kitchen sink at the Boro back-line.

They only had a Lattimore shot that skimmed the top of the bar to show for their efforts though, as Boro hung on for dear life to claim another valuable victory.