Boro do it again after City stalemate

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Saturday’s FA Trophy clash between Scarborough Athletic and Cambridge City had all the thrills and spills of a cracking cup tie, the only thing lacking was goals.

Because of the goalless stalemate, both sets of players must now do it all again on Wednesday evening, the only problem being the 215-mile trip to Cambridge’s Histon base that lies in the way of the Boro players.

There will also be a lengthy list of injuries that the Boro coaching staff have to contend with ahead of the trip, striker Ryan Blott being the latest to book his place on the treatment table when he limped off with a hamstring strain.

That was only minutes after Blott had the chance to wrap up the battle, but he failed to steer his header into the target, the ball sailing a hair’s-bredth wide of the Cambridge post.

That chance could and possibly should have wrapped up a game that began with boss Rudy Funk throwing out the same side that had powered to three points on the road at Carlton seven days earlier.

Joe Cracknell also played a huge part in a game that would prove to be his last - the keeper’s loan spell from parent club Hull City coming to an end after the weekend.

Boro made a strong start with the wind at their backs, but the early pressure failed to create any clear-cut chances.

After absorbing Boro’s push, Cambridge launched a rapier-like raid of their own, which almost thrust the visitors ahead.

Firstly James Brighton’s strike was deflected just over Cracknell’s bar, then, from the resulting corner, Nick Beasant planted a header just off target.

The game contined to swing from one end to the other, as Blott’s crashing shot was diverted away by Zac Barrett, then Cracknell made a brilliant stop to keep out Brighton’s effort.

Cambridge possibly had grabbed the upper hand by the end of the first half, but Cracknell was producing a personal master-class to keep them at bay.

His best piece of handling saw him scoop up a low cross from the right just as three Cambridge strikers were sniffing out an opening goal.

One sour note was the fact that official Mark Powell realised that he had brough his cards with him towards the end of the half as Boro’s Paul Foot and Chris Bolder were booked, as was Cambridge man Luke Allen - all three possibly being a little harsh.

Boro almost made the perfect start to the second half, creating two great chances in as many minutes.

Lewis Clarkson’s drive was pushed onto the post by Barrett, then Blott hit the set-piece that followed on the volley, only for Barrett to somehow scoop the shot off the line and to safety.

Boro introduced Joe Lamplough for Steve Ridley and they continued to push their opponents back into their own third of the pitch.

Clarkson scuffed a good opportunity into the hands of the City keeper, then Williams delivered a lobbed centre into the path of Blott, but his header flew agonisingly past the post.

The remainder of the game turned into the Cracknell show, as the young keeper made a string of breath-taking saves to guarantee a replay.

He firstly dived full-length to tip out David Prada’s effort, then a smart double-save from Beasant followed.

Further miraculous saves followed to deny Brighton and Josh Dawkin.

Boro introduced Bryan Hughes in the final minutes, hoping that he could conjure something to win the encounter, instead it was Cambridge who finished the better.

But there was no knock-out blow from the Calor Premier side, so a lengthy trip and another gruelling 90 minutes awaits in just a few days’ time.