SCARBOROUGH Athletic’s 4-3 win against Hall Road Rangers had a bit of everything, ranging from the good, to the bad and then onto the ugly.
In the end, Boro just had enough to pinch the three points on the road, but it wasn’t before Rangers kept the nerves jangling and things turned a little sour.
Card-happy official Mr Bell brought a ding-dong battle to a head by dishing out a trio of red cards, one harshly awarded to Boro skipper Tony Hackworth.
This was a disappointing end to the match for Hackworth, as he had been a key figure for Boro, tucked in behind the dangerous strike-duo of three-goal Ryan Blott and Adam Lee. Fellow striker Curtis Bernard found himself sat alongside boss Rudy Funk on the bench.
This move looked to have paid dividend in the opening stages, as Blott’s stinging effort was deflected wide and Hackworth planted a firm header against the bar.
Boro cruised into the ascendancy with 12 minutes played, as a Lee cross from the right was neatly glanced home by the head of Blott.
The visitors continued to press and Hall Road continued to crack under the pressure.
Another Blott effort smashed into the back of the stand, and Hackworth brought the best out of Rangers’ keeper Michael Burley.
Boro then won a free-kick on the edge of the box, and Paddy Miller showed his dead-ball qualities by fooling everyone and placing the ball in the bottom corner.
It looked as though an abacus would be required to keep the Boro score, but rather than keeping their foot down in top gear, they stalled.
It took Rangers just two minutes to trim Boro’s advantage, as the defence parted, a shot from distance smacked against Kevin Martin’s post and Neil Towler tapped home.
Former Boro man Mark Griffin had a sight-setter from distance that just sailed wide on the half-hour. Then, just before the break, he got it right to level the score.
The impressive Towler delivered a ball across the box and Griffin poked home.
Boro did almost reclaim the lead in first-half injury-time, but a Hackworth shot, which deflected off Lee, landed on the roof of the net.
Things continued to go wrong for Boro at the beginning of the second half.
A hopeful long-ball from out wide was totally misjudged by Martin and Towler was on hand to roll home his second.
The brilliance of Blott continued to drag Boro along though, and he struck his second on 53 minutes.
The striker collected 25 yards from goal and chipped delicately into the top corner of the goal.
Hall Road could have taken the lead once again when Dan Ricketts headed wide, but it was Boro who scored the all-important match-winner just after the hour.
James Atkins thought it might be a good idea to take on Blott on the edge of his own penalty area, and it proved to be a poor decision, as the frontman robbed him before stroking home his third of the game and 25th in all competitions.
With Boro holding such a fragile lead, tempers began to flare as the minutes ticked on, leading to a trio of early baths.
Hackworth was bizarrely given one of these red cards, despite Rangers’ keeper Burley taking an unnerving interest in grabbing hold of he Boro man’s head. Burley’s actions did also earn him a straight red.
Towler followed in the final few minutes after he seemed to elbow Boro man Daz Winters in the face.
This incident was sandwiched by a couple of decent Boro chances, with Lee testing new keeper James Fosdyke and sub Bernard seeing his shot gratefully gathered when Athletic raided forward in number.
Boro had done enough though, comfortbly holding out to collect a thrilling three points.