Scarborough Athletic’s Evo-Stik South play-off ambitions were dented as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle Town.
By contrast to last week’s victory over Carlton where they struggled for over an hour but claimed three points courtesy of a strong finish, Boro played some decent stuff during the opening 65 minutes but finished with a whimper at The Aspire Stadium.
Both sides began tentatively in blustery conditions, attempting to negotiate their way around what was a bobbly playing surface covered in sand.
There was little to choose between the teams during the opening exchanges and not much of note happened until the 13th minute when Gary Bradshaw rattled the Newcastle cross bar with a speculative strike from just inside the hosts’ half.
Had the Athletic striker’s effort found the back of the home net then proceedings may well have unfolded very differently, however, it was Newcastle who did take the lead shortly afterwards.
Some neat play down the right saw Tom France afforded the chance to swing a cross into the Boro penalty area where Dan Skelton arrived almost unchallenged to nod firmly past Jason White.
Rudy Funk’s side reacted well to falling behind and attempted to up the tempo, passing and moving the ball around nicely in spite of the tricky surface.
Town keeper Adam Alcock made a mess of coming to claim a Ryan Williams free-kick into the box but the ball bounced narrowly wide of the far post with the goal unguarded.
An incisive solo run from Ryan Blott saw him extend Alcock again soon afterwards, the home stopper at full stretch to tip a ferocious strike over the bar.
Jimmy Beadle was next to test the Newcastle gloveman’s reflexes as Boro began to enjoy a period of sustained pressure.
A couple more shooting opportunities were forged as half-time approached, but Beadle and then Peter Davidson were off target with their efforts.
The second half got underway with Boro on the front foot and what turned out to be their clearest chance of the afternoon arrived with 50 minutes on the clock when Bradshaw played Blott in on goal.
The latter’s composure for once deserted him and he rushed his shot, the ball flying harmlessly wide of Alcock’s upright.
Boro continued to probe away and looked the most likely to score next, however, boss Funk rolled the dice, switching from 4-4-2 to 3-4-3, with Beadle moving up front alongside Blott and Bradshaw.
The change in formation allowed Newcastle more space down the flanks and the right wing in particular, where France continued to threaten.
One attack down that side of the pitch resulted in Tim Sanders scuffing a shot wide when it looked easier to score, but moments later his strike partner Josh Gordon showed him how it’s done.
Another dangerous ball was delivered from the right flank and, much like Newcastle’s first goal, it was all too easy for Gordon to plant his header past a helpless White.
If the travelling support were hoping for a late onslaught from the Seadogs then they will have been disappointed as the home side comfortably saw out the closing stages, Boro seemingly giving up the ghost.
There is certainly no shame in losing to Newcastle Town who are organised at the back and possess a genuine threat going forward.
The problem for Athletic is that if they are to realise their newly-stated play-off ambitions then they really need to be beating sides of Newcastle’s calibre, and sooner rather than later.