SCARBOROUGH may have been the victors in the old boys battle with Hull City, but there was really only one winner on a great day.
Brian France, who became Scarborough Athletic’s first manager in 2007, was forced to retire from the game mid-way through last season after suffering a head injury during a game.
Over 400 fans and a host of players from past and present made their way to Bridlington’s Queensgate to show their support for a man classed by many as a non-league legend.
And what a thriller it was, as the youthful Boro lads pulled clear in the second half to secure a 5-3 success.
Boro may have had the younger legs, but they were more than matched in the opening period by an experienced Tigers line-up, bossed from the middle of the park by Brian’s son-in-law Dean Windass.
Even former Premiership ace Windass was shown to be mortal in the first few minutes, and most of East Yorkshire heard his response when he was nutmegged by Dave Hartas.
It was the ex-Boro heroes who grabbed the lead with 15 minutes played, as former attacking partners Tony Hackworth and Michael Coulson linked up for the latter to dink beautifully home.
At the other end it was all about Windass, as he burst through, but dragged his shot wide.
That proved to be a loosener for Windass, who made no mistake minutes later. The striker collected on the edge of the box and smashed home past a stranded Jon Hyde.
Windass then took advantage of Hyde’s misjudgement as he ran beyond the keeper, into the box where he stooped to head home on his knees from a yard.
Boro did level things up just before the break, as Ryan Blott wriggled free on the left and drilled in a cross, Windass put the ball in the net for the third time, but this one was in the wrong end.
Chris Senior and Martyn Ferrey should have moved Boro ahead at the beginning of the new half, before the Seasiders did grab the initiative.
Ged Dalton burst through from midfield and squared to last season’s Boro top-scorer Blott, who finished in typically calm fashion.
Centre-back Michael McNaughton was the next to go close, as he rifled over, then Dalton saw his effort well saved by former Scarborough FC keeper Gavin Kelly.
With 15 minutes remaining, the game was wrapped up when Coulson fed Dalton, who took a touch and drilled home.
Then Hackworth showed more of creaive flair to release Senior, who floated the ball delightfully into the top corner.
The Tigers did roar once more though, as Mike Smith lofted a fine lob over stand-in keeper Steve French, completing a fine afternoon of action.