Boro slump to another defeat

editorial image

It has become clear that organisation and pace are two vital elements in the Evo-Stik League, unfortunately these are two traits that Scarborough Athletic currently lack.

Boro may have been 100 per cent better than they were at Romulus on Saturday, but they still failed to cut the mustard in their 3-1 home defeat against Sheffield on Tuesday night.

Rudy Funk’s men are still in their infancy as a Evo-Stik League club and the juvenile mistakes made on a chilly Queensgate night highlighted that perfectly.

Just months ago Boro were a solid unit that had powered to the NCEL Premier title, but now the fluidity seems to have evaporated.

There were passages of play that gave the sparse crowd of 287 plenty to cheer, but then in contrast there were enough moments that would have brought a wince to the face of the staunchest of fan.

Boss Funk rung the changes after Saturday, as Paul Foot, Ryan Blott, Tyler Collishaw and James Bennett all slipped out of the team. Steve Ridley and Pete Davidson both slotted in while debuts were given to new signings Thomas Davie and former Hull City man Ryan Williams.

The pair looked useful on their debut, though Williams began to vanish as the minutes ticked on.

The omens looked bad when, with just seconds played, one of the floodlights went bang.

The game continued though and Boro were unlucky not to take the lead when Gary Bradshaw scampered clear, only to roll wide.

Sheffield had the gusting wind at their backs and they almost took advantage of this when towering centre-back Jamie Hadfield planted a header just wide.

Davie was causing a problem or two for the visitors, with the former North Ferriby man nipping onto a long ball, though his shot was saved by Sheffield keeper Nav Ahmed.

The sides soon began trading attacking blows, Boro’s Andy Milne scooping off his own line and Andy Gascoigne drilling just over. At the other end Bradshaw was denied by some good handling, while Davie fired just wide with fellow new boy Williams screaming his case for a square ball.

Sheffield should have opened the scoring five minutes before the break when Mark Fereday was picked out in the box, but the striker got his shot horribly wrong.

That didn’t down the spirits of the lanky frontman though, who responded by breaking his duck minutes later.

Milne gave the ball away in a poor area and Sheffield broke quickly, resulting in Fereday slotting past Jason White from the edge of the box.

Boro started the new half in confident fashion, buoyed by the wind pushing them on.

Chris Bolder almost levelled things up when he burst onto a good move and struck the foot of the post.

Then, from out of nowhere, a moment of true quality from Bryan Hughes restored parity.

Hughes collected almost 40 yards from goal, took a touch and let fly with a screamer that crashed in off the upright.

That sparked a Boro charge, with Hughes being denied a clever dinked second, Ridley’s cross-cum-shot sailing just past the post, and Hughes letting loose with a ridiculous effort from inside his own half that was pushed away by a swiftly-retreating keeper.

Things could have swung Boro’s way when Sheffield’s Gascoigne clearly elbowed Boro defender Sam Denton in the face, but the referee played it safe and only offered a yellow card.

The old adage states that goals win football matches and there is obviously plenty of truth in that.

Boro may have been on top but they failed to take advantage and score these goals, whereas Sheffield, having mopped up all of the pressure, showed their cutting edge and went on to win them the game.

A quick break freed up James Gregory on the left of the box and the striker crashed the ball into the top corner of White’s net.

Then just two minutes later, Gascoigne rose unmarked in the area to head home a corner, making it 3-1.

Changes were made to the Boro side just after this, though the introduction of the attacking partnership of Blott and Josh Greening - who between them compiled 60 goals last term - came too late.

Sheffield managed to see out the final minutes to inflict another hurtful defeat on an already downbeat Boro camp.