Scarborough Athletic crashed out of the FA Vase yesterday in cruel, injury-time fashion. But they cannot say that their hosts Thackley didn’t deserve the victory.
A 94th-minute strike by Jordan Missin saw to it that Boro lost out at the first hurdle of a national competition for the second time this season, following an FA Cup defeat at Spennymoor in August.
Aside from the winner, Boro’s defensive frailties in a 3-5-2 system were tested throughout the game, with keeper Steve Wilson called upon many times to rescue them.
In attack Boro had few chances, with Ryan Blott the only real threat. Boro struggled to support their top-scorer with any real ambition.
Manager Rudy Funk’s line-up changed from the midweek draw at Barton Town.
Débutante Jermain Hollis started the game as a strike partner to Blott, though he is usually a midfielder.
Cameron Fearon returned in place of suspended Andy Milne, and James Bennett replaced injured Tom Claisse. Boro managed to fill the bench with just three players from five available spots.
The first effort on goal was Boro’s, as Blott struck a low 20-yard shot just wide of the post.
But it was a rare effort from the visitors, as Thackley, and in particular attacker Brice Tiani took control on an increasing heavy pitch.
Tiani shot wide on 15 minutes, and set-up Kris Hargreaves soon after, the left-back’s shot deflected over the bar by Fearon.
Liam Hudson was booked for a cynical foul on Blott, but the free-kick from wide left was cleared without danger.
Blott and Hollis linked well to find the former some space, but again Blott’s effort was off target.
Nicky Matthews, and the entire home support, shouted loud for a penalty when James Bennett took down the number 10 just inside the box, but the Boro man had won the ball firmly and fairly first and referee Richard Wild waved away the protests.
A loud cheer went up from the home side shortly after however, and this time it was for the opening goal.
Thackley crossed from the right, and after two poorly attempted clearances the ball spooned into the air; Tiani was unchallenged as the ball dropped, and the Boro defence stood and watched him rifle an exquisite volley into the net.
A second blow then hit Boro as Pete Davidson had to be replaced by Tony Hackworth on 39 minutes due to injury. But this did signal Boro’s best spell of the game, and an equaliser before half-time.
Tom Adams lifted a ball over the top to Blott, who reached the byline and pulled back for Hackworth. The substitute took a touch and blasted home left-footed to take the sides in level at the break.
Buoyed by this goal Boro were out early for the second half, and another change was made by Funk. Robbie Hawkes had had an uneventful first 45 minutes, so Joel Ramm was switched to the right wing-back berth.
Wilson was the first Boro player to see any action at the start of the half, making two sharp saves to deny Matthews twice within a minute.
It was against the run of play that Boro went ahead, as they exposed some defensive naivety from the home side.
Blott reached the byline and kept the ball in smartly to centre, with a Thackley defender hitting a clearance against Hollis. The new boy centred for Paddy Miller who had a simple three-yard tap-in to put Boro ahead.
The lead lasted all of six minutes. A well-worked move from left to right found Josh Eastwood, and he found the top corner from the edge of the box to equalise.
Home manager Vince Brockie was ordered from the pitch, seemingly for something he said to the crowd behind his dug-out, and as tempers flared Adams and Tiani initiated a bout of handbags which referee Wild did well to expunge.
Wilson saved again from Eastwood as the home side coped better with the badly cut-up pitch; Boro now struggled to play their pass and move game.
Miller forced home keeper Mark Bower into a near post save on 80 minutes, and at this point Hackworth and Hollis had swapped places, as Boro looked to force the issue and see the tie through in 90 minutes.
Bennett hit a 30-yard effort which Bower parried, but that would be Boro’s last effort.
Six minutes of injury-time were shown, thanks in part to a large delay following the sending off of the home gaffer, and the crowd were preparing for extra-time.
But in the fourth of those added minutes Missin didn’t miss, as he waltzed through three weak challenges in the box to hit the roof of the net and take the home side through.
The old cliché is that Boro will now concentrate on the league. But they need to step up attacking performances and eliminate their defensive debility if a title challenge is to be a realistic aim.