IT was a day to forget in Tadcaster on Saturday as Scarborough Athletic failed to produce any FA Cup magic.
Boro’s NCEL Premier rivals just proved to be the better team as Athletic’s dreams of a run in the competition were comfortably washed away.
Whether it was the size of the occasion, the FA’s television cameras or just an off day, it took Boro 70 minutes to get going in a game they should have been more than up for.
On the back of a 4-0 league win last week and a battling success at Barton in the earlier round or the cup, it would have been thought that Athletic would continue their charge.
But two punished errors and a disjointed display allowed Tadcaster an easy path through.
And to make matters worse it was a couple of former Boro men who played a massive part.
Danny Gray was a constant threat up front, while keeper Arran Reid made a number of telling saves to keep Tadcaster in the ascendancy.
It was the ghosting runs of Gray that caused Boro endless problems until he left to a round of applause in the 75th minute.
His first of these runs was in the fifth minute, when he arrived unmarked at the far post and headed inches wide.
Then with 15 minutes on the clock, Gray made no mistake to give Tadcaster the early lead.
A weak punch from Ed Eley fell straight to the toe of Graeme Whitehead, and his far-post cross was nodded home by the lanky striker.
Up until this point Boro had created little or nothing, but there was a flurry of activity with Paddy Miller driving a free-kick at Reid and Tony Hackworth seeing his shot saved.
One worrying sign at the other end was how easily Tadcaster cut through the Boro defence on the counter.
This happened 10 minutes before the break, but striker Carl Stewart wasted the opportunity when he drove wide.
This lucky escape almost sparked a Boro leveller, as Miller was fetched down on the edge of the Tadcaster box.
Ant Lynam’s trademark piledriver cut through the wall, but keeper Reid got his body behind it and diverted it to safety.
With boss Rudy Funk’s words echoing around the ground at the interval, as quick response was expected.
It didn’t materialise though, and Tadcaster were so unlucky not to make it two just minutes into the new period.
The Boro defence went missing, but Eley did make up for his earlier blunder as he denied Stewart with a strong save.
Boro were beginning to show glimmers of quality, the best of these being a curling Ryan Blott effort, which was nodded off the line by Ryan Qualter.
Tadcaster’s Gray went close with a header of his own on the hour, then just after, another blooper allowed Tadcaster in for their second.
Daz Winters, who had looked relatively assured, allowed Terry Taylor to wriggle free on the by-line.
His shot was saved, but Gray swept home his second from six yards.
The introduction of Bill Law and Curtis Bernard finally injected some pace and purpose into the Boro attack, and the former was unlucky with a powerful drive, which was tipped away by a stretching Reid.
It was to and fro for the rest of the tie, with play swinging swiftly to either end.
By the time Tadcaster netted their third of the afternoon in the last minute, Boro probably should have been right back in the game.
Blott’s dipping volley sailed over, sub Scott Phillips stabbed over from 10 yards and Bernard scooped a Law cross over.
It was a moment of quality that wrapped things up for the hosts though.
Stewart, who had been a threat all afternoon, superbly floated a free-kick into the top corner from distance to add a little more salt to the Boro wounds.
Injury-time just demonstrated that it was never going to be Boro’s day, as Blott looped a header goalwards, but Qualter denied him for a second time.