Boro dig in for Bridge draw

editorial image

Scarborough Athletic dug in on Saturday to grind out a goalless draw at Bamber Bridge which kept their Evo-Stik North promotion push on track.

Boro held firm in a key six-pointer against their fellow high-flyers, aided by a magnificent defensive performance.

The point allowed Boro to remain fourth in the table, though a number of teams remain in the reckoning to grab the Holy Grail of a top five place.

Athletic’s management duo of Bryan Hughes and Paul Foot had done their homework prior to kick off and this led to some defensive alterations.

And the back-four of Paul Robson, Danny Wilkinson, Ben Middleton and Dean Lisles produced a display of true quality.

Preparation wasn’t ideal for Boro though, as a crash on the M61 caused a number of players to arrive late.

That wasn’t evident when the game kicked off, as Boro immediately looked a solid unit.

The first-half action was limited, though there was the odd highlight to capture the attention of a packed audience.

Boro keeper Joe Cracknell was the first stopper to be called upon, and he brilliantly tipped away Chris Marlow’s angled effort.

Alex Metcalfe had Boro’s opening chance, though his shot sailed just wide of the target.

Blott smashed another strike over the bar, before Bridge’s Stuary Vasey drove inches past the Boro post.

The best chance of the first half fell to visting midfielder Jimmy Beadle, who controlled brilliantly on the penalty spot, but he failed to keep his shot down and it fizzed over the bar.

The half-time whistle gave Boro the opportunity to reassess their progress, and that almost paid off immediately.

Cameron Murray was picked out by Ryan Blott on the far post, but the ball was taken off his toe just as the trigger was about to be pulled.

Bridge proved that they were still a threat when the dangerous Alistair Waddecar found some space in the box, but his drive flew just over.

Then Ryan Blott, making his first start for some time, came a whisker away from giving Boro the lead.

Tom Corner rose superbly in the area and forced the ball into the six-yard box, where Blott shook off his marker and angled a header that struck the post and bounced to safety.

Things then took a turn for the worse, as referee James Wilson awarded Bridge the softest of penalties when Metcalfe was adjudged to have hauled down Kieron Pickup just inside the area.

A goal would have spelt disaster for Boro, but Cracknell proved to be the last line of defence when he got two strong hands to Darren Green’s kick and pushed it away.

Boro could have had a penalty of their own just seconds later, as Danny Mahoney manhandled Middleton in the Bridge area, but Mr Wilson turned his back.

More good pressure from Athletic led to another great opportunity, the ball falling to Beadle on the six-yard line, but once again his volley was just too high.

Boro threw on Gary Bradshaw in an attempt to snatch all three points and he did manage to cause a number of problems in the final few minutes.

But it was Bridge who finished the stronger.

Green was sent clean through on Cracknell’s goal, but Middleton tracked his progress and blocked his shot with a magnificent saving tackle.

Then Lisles, who had been in superb form, showed his worth in the very final seconds when he headed brilliantly off the line.

The final whistle followed soon after, signalling the end of a thrilling match that kept Boro well on track.