Boro suffer first loss of season

Boro news
Boro news

Scarborough Athletic produced an abject display as they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to Gresley FC.

Boro looked a shadow of the side who created chances for fun in the midweek victory over Eastwood Town and had the weather been better, visiting keeper Ross Etheridge could probably have got away with bringing a deckchair, under-worked as he was.

Much like Eastwood on Tuesday evening, Gresley arrived at Queensgate looking organised at the back, with a packed midfield and seemingly happy to spend 90 minutes trying to frustrate their hosts.

That is not to say that the visitors did not try and play football, and the men from Derbyshire actually looked the more fluent in an opening 15 minutes in which Boro struggled to get out of first gear.

Things improved slightly as the half wore on but Rudy Funk’s charges were restricted to a pair of long-range strikes from Bryan Hughes and a snap-shot from Gary Bradshaw on the edge of the box, none of which forced Etheridge into a save.

It was the Moatmen who created the best opportunity of the first period as John Guy picked out striker Dean Oliver with a pin-point cross from the left wing.

Oliver, however, fluffed his lines, heading the ball downwards and into the turf from just six yards out and allowing Jason White to gather the ball on the bounce when he perhaps should have been picking it out of the back of his net.

Oliver hobbled off to be replaced by Royce Turville shortly afterwards as the game limped towards the interval with the scores still goalless.

The first opportunity of the second period fell to Gresley as Eric Greaves found himself unmarked at the back post, but his headed effort from a left-wing cross flew harmlessly over the bar.

Hughes then registered an effort on target for Boro with a 25-yard free kick, however it was catching practice for Etheridge.

Bradshaw did have the ball in the back of the away side’s net after 52 minutes when some tidy interplay between Ryan Blott and Peter Davidson afforded him a clear sight of goal but the ex-North Ferriby man had strayed narrowly offside and his effort was ruled out.

Boro at last began to generate some momentum and a neat move down the left flank saw Blott slide marauding full-back Steve Ridley clean through on the Gresley goal.

Ridley just managed to get a toe on the ball before the on-rushing Etheridge arrived to confront him and deflected the ball away to safety as Boro’s best chance of the afternoon evaporated.

The hosts remained marginally in the ascendancy and the arrival of Lewis Clarkson - who joined the fray alongside Tyler Collishaw in place of Blott and Tony Hackworth in the 66th minute - briefly appeared like it might spark Boro into life.

However, the Seadogs were indebted to Andy Milne for a last-ditch tackle to halt substitute Turville in his tracks after Hughes had sold Sam Denton short deep inside his own half, before disaster struck for the home side in the 72nd minute.

Denton was second to a ball into the channel and Turville picked up the pieces, releasing Robert Spencer who raced forward before stabbing the ball past advancing Boro keeper Jason White and high into the net at the clubhouse end of the ground.

If the Athletic faithful had been disappointed by the lack of opportunities that their side had created prior to Gresley taking the lead then they must have been stunned by how few chances came Boro’s way after they fell behind.

Despite trailing 1-0 entering the last 15 minutes of the game, the hosts seemed devoid of any real urgency and didn’t come close to forcing an equaliser.

This display was certainly one of the worst served up during Funk’s tenure as manager and will serve as a sharp reminder - should one be needed - that Evo-Stik League football is without doubt a significant step up from the standard encountered last season in the NCEL.

The one small positive to come out of an insipid performance was man of the match Ridley’s display.

The Boro full-back was full of energy up and down the left flank, tackled superbly and came closest to finding the net for the Seadogs.

Alongside Ridley, the centre-back pairing of Milne and Denton once again looked reasonably solid but too many of their colleagues had an off-day and it does not appear that this will be something Funk’s men will be able to get away with at this level.

Boro: White, Plummer, Ridley, Milne, Denton, Davidson (Bennett 73), Bolder, Hughes, Blott (Clarkson 67), Bradshaw, Hackworth (Collishaw 67).

Subs not used: Greening, Cook.

Gresley: Etheridge, Johns, Harrison, Strzyzewski, Barrett, Greaves, Lyons (Grice), Jepson, Oliver (Turville 39), Spencer, Guy (Fitzhugh)

Subs not used: Hanslow, James.

Attendance: 518.