Boro’s Cup adventure gathers pace

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Scarborough Athletic booked their place in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup on Tuesday night with a composed 1-0 victory against Ashington.

After scraping their way into a replay with a last-minute penalty on Saturday, Boro looked a different side just a few days later when they upped the tempo and fizzed the ball around a disappointingly sparse Queensgate in comfortable fashion.

The quality was too much for Ashington, though the Northern League side clung firmly onto Boro’s coat-tails and always looked a threat when they were given the opportunity.

Signs of Boro’s swift improvement was there from the start, it seemed as though the shackles had been shaken off and they were free to express themselves.

Ryan Blott stepped away from his hold-up role and linked up neatly with strike-partner Gary Bradshaw in the first minute to fire over.

Then James Bennett ghosted cleverly onto a sharp build-up, but his shot was held by Kyle Barnard.

Jason White’s dormancy was soon broken when Ashington’s Glen Taylor found some space, but his low shot was blocked by the Boro keeper’s legs.

White then had to pick himself up off the ground when he was clattered off the ball by the burly Marc Walton, the former Newcastle United attacker was awarded a yellow card for his trouble.

Barnard was easily the busier of the two keepers, his next action was to race off the line and deny Blott with a strong foot.

Matty Plummer’s confidence at right-back was visibly growing, his raiding runs giving Ashington another problem to comprehend.

One of which was concluded by a low shot that skimmed into the side-netting.

From the other flank Ryan Williams bent a brilliant ball into the box, but Blott’s header was saved.

Plummer then jigged merrily into the box, but his rifled effort was painfully blocked by a flying defender.

There was still time for Bradshaw and Walton to go close at either end, before ref Tony Peart allowed the players a short interval.

Boro should have snatched the initiative just a minute into the second half when a ball was teased into the box and Beadle’s header from close range was brilliantly kept out.

Frustration seemed to be setting in as Boro tried to overplay in their attacks rather than just pulling the trigger.

But just before the hour, a flash of incisiveness from Pete Davidson sliced the Ashington defence in two and Bradshaw finished with aplomb.

It should have been two seconds later when Plummer’s cross sailed past an outstretched Beadle. Bradshaw did get his head on it, but the ball rattled the post.

The ball crossed the line soon after, but as did keeper Barnard as Ben Middleton bundled both into the net. Mr Peart had little choice but to cut short the celebrations.

Barnard denied Blott and Beadle, then Ashington defender Phillip Lumsden was given a stunning stay of execution by the officials.

Bradshaw held Lumsden back from the ball by his shorts, but the Ashington man’s reaction was to lash out, seemingly flooring the Boro striker with a blow to his face.

The officials retreated to their covern and the weak decision was made to brandish a yellow rather than the obvious red card.

A dismissal would have had little effect though on a tie that had already been decided.

Ashington had little more to offer and Boro finished the fixture with their appetite whet by an intriguing trip to Evo-Stik Premier leaders Curzon Ashton in the next round.