THREE was the magic number for Scarborough Athletic last night, as they signed off the season in style at Staveley Miners Welfare.
With third place in the table the prize for three points, Boro hit three goals without reply to secure a finish behind Retford and Bridlington Town.
Ryan Blott had three in mind as well - three goals would have given him the outright top-scorer award for the division. He managed two in the victory to draw level with Bridlington’s former Boro player Craig Hogg on 34 league goals.
Boro boss Rudy Funk brought back skipper Tony Hackworth after his three game ban at Staveley, and he slotted into midfield in place of Chris Hewitt.
The first effort of the game came from the home side - a free-kick from James Walker swinging just wide. But from then on it was all Boro.
On eight minutes Blott struck his first of the game, out-muscling a defender to strike across the keeper and into the net.
A superb finish worthy of the striker’s 150th goal for the club.
His strike partner Curtis Bernard came close to a spectacular second when his over-head kick from Paddy Miller’s nod down was tipped over.
Boro continued to storm forward, and Bill Law headed wide before Blott beat the keeper to the ball but ran out of pitch and so couldn’t finish.
Staveley were finding Boro’s back-line difficult to break through, although Joe Thornton did force Kevin Martin to do some work after 25 minutes, the keeper equal to his shot.
Hackworth sliced a shot wide after a terrible bobble, but Boro hit a second in their next attack.
All credit goes to Bernard for chasing down a back pass, blocking keeper Martin Dewberry’s clearance and then rounding the keeper as he recovered. But he showed an unselfish side to his game by passing for Blott to notch his and Boro’s second.
At half-time Staveley made a change with Danny Claridge replacing Walker on the left.
But Denny Ingram had him in his pocket for 45 minutes, as Boro’s defence continued to hold firm.
Coming forward Boro looked to add to their tally - with Blott in particular looking to notch his 35th league goal of the season.
Bill Law should have made it three soon after the half started, but blazed wide after a ricochet fell into his path.
On the hour the home keeper spilled a Jimmy Ghaichem cross, and when Matt Draper couldn’t reach the ball Law got in a shot which was blocked.
More substitutions gave the game a stop and go feel, but Boro continued to control the match.
And the finishing blow came through Hackworth, who timed his run perfectly to latch onto Ghaichem’s throughball and side-foot past Dewberry to put the result beyond doubt.
A succession of long-throws and corners kept the ball in the Staveley half as Boro looked to see out a long arduous season on top.
It would have been the icing on the cake had Blott’s 90th minute 25-yard strike dipped in, but the keeper handled well.
A positive end to the season for Funk’s men, and with a three month break to reflect and regroup, who’s to say they can’t go a couple of places better off next season?