IT IS testament to Scarborough Athletic’s recent positive turnaround that they beat a team on Saturday who just four weeks ago had beat them 2-0.
Selby Town came to Queensgate on Saturday a different looking side to the one that had beaten Boro in mid-January, following the departure of their manager and key players in Rob Eeles and top-scorer Adam Lee.
Boro too had changes from four weeks previously, but the only change from the preceding four games – all wins – was Joel Hartley coming in to replace Graham Botham. Denny Ingram switched to left-back, and Frank Belt to right-back to incorporate Hartley on the right wing. However both full-backs wouldn’t finish the first half.
The visitors had the first meaningful effort of the game, after just two minutes, but Paul Ashton lifted over Tom Woodhead’s bar from the edge of the box.
Boro skipper Ingram launched into a tackle on Liam Davis after five minutes, and although Ingram was booked for the lunge, he came off worst – having to leave the field a few minutes later with an injury to his right ankle. Boro had to switch things around, as Nicky McNamara came on for his first home appearance for the club on the left of midfield – the versatile Gary Hepples filling in at left-back. Chris Jenkinson was handed the captain’s armband for the remainder of the game.
Hepples was immediately in defensive action, clearing off the line as Ashton rounded Woodhead and shot goalwards.
But Selby did go ahead after 22 minutes. Davis it was who opened the scoring just as he had done in the tie at Selby in January.
He was allowed room to enter the box, and took advantage of the space afforded to him to turn Mike Gibson and beat Woodhead at the near post.
Boro’s attack gradually became more spirited, and Ryan Blott forced Jody Barford into a low save. Richard Dunning then scooped a shot over the bar from the edge of the box. That turned out to be just a sighter for the midfielder however.
On the stroke of half-time Dunning collected a pass from Josh Clayton, who had entered the field following an injury to Frank Belt. He looped a first-time dipping shot over Barford and into the net to level up the scores at half-time.
Selby also lost their right-back Michael Dunster to injury after 50 minutes, and from that side of the pitch Boro put some significant chances together.
Bill Law hit a post following in a shot from top-scorer Blott being saved, and Gibson was unlucky to direct a header straight at Barford from Dunning’s superbly crafted centre.
Boro were now in the ascendancy and the chances were coming thick and fast, although it proved difficult to pass fluidly on a muddy surface which was gradually becoming thicker itself.
Hartley should have struck a first-time shot when handily placed, but decided to take a touch and the chance was blocked.
Dunning then volleyed a brilliant strike towards goal, only to see it smack against the bar and out to safety.
Richard Medcalf replaced Hartley to freshen up Boro’s attacking options, and it was he who would score the goal which put Boro ahead.
The goal was tinged with controversy as Selby believed Blott to be offside when receiving a punt from Woodhead.
Blott didn’t wait for a whistle, and thankfully for Boro it didn’t come as Blott squared to Medcalf who dribbled around the keeper and found the goal to make it 2-1.
With the pitch continuing to cut up, the chances began to dry up. Defences were on top, with Clayton and Hepples performing well in their duties down the flanks.
Blott almost got on the scoresheet when put through by Medcalf, but Barford was equal to it.