Boro turn the corner after Tom’s double

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Scarborough Athletic had just about enough at Burscough on Saturday to bring their winless run to an end.

Boro were given no help on their way to the 3-2 victory, as the conditions were horrendous and match official Nathaniel Cox turned in one of the strangest refereeing performances in the history of football.

But after two straight defeats, Boro dug in and grabbed a vital three points that keeps their Evo-Stik North play-off ambitions alive.

This was no game for the football purist, as the bitter wind and bobbling surface limited the aesthetic action.

Boro handed a full debut to new striker Tom Corner, while another fresh face in Danny Wilkinson slotted into a new-look back-four, which included Paul Robson at left-back.

The visitors started confidently and they grabbed an early lead when the persistance of Gary Bradshaw forced an error at the back. Corner took advantage, smashing home from 12 yards.

The game began to to-and-fro after this, though the whistle of Mr Cox created a stop-start culture that frustrated players, benches and fans alike.

Boro rose above this just after the half-hour when some neat play on the right released the raiding Matty Plummer. His ball into the box was diverted home by the leg of Corner, who reeled away celebrating his second on his first start for the club.

The goals continued to flow, and Burscough were the next to test the strength of the netting.

Paul Williams stepped up after a foul 25 yards from the Boro goal, and the defender brilliantly flashed his free-kick past Joe Cracknell.

Boro’s response was immediate, with an incisive break freeing up Alex Metcalfe. He cut in and drove home from the edge of the area.

That was that for the first period, as due to the swirling gales the ball spent most of the time in the stand or the gardens next to Victoria Park.

The second half was one that everyone involved will be keen to forget.

Burcough, with the wind at their backs, possibly emerged the better side, but Boro’s determination got them through.

Referee Mr Cox produced yellow cards at regular intervals, the final one of the afternoon being by far the strangest.

Prior to that though, Boro threw on Blott in the place of Corner, who the match officials seemed to single out for much of the attention.

Burscough forged their way back into the game just after the hour when they polished off one of a series of attacks.

Centre-back Nick Ryan was on hand just a yard from goal to convert a melee in the box.

Boro knew it was going to be a slog in the final moments of the game, so they introduced new legs in James Bennett and Steve Ridley to solidify a retreating midfield.

Having committed to Boro for the remainder of the campaign, keeper Cracknell showed why bosses Bryan Hughes and Paul Foot had busted their guts to retain his services, as he produced a remarkable performance in the closing stages.

He saved brilliantly from Eddie Toner and then maintained Boro’s slight advantage with more superb stops.

Then, with just seconds left on the clock, referee Cox elected to sign off in predictably baffling fashion.

Jimmy Ghaichem, who had been booked mid-way through the half, took a quick free-kick on the edge of the Burscough box - a move that the official took exception to and the Boro midfielder was sent off.

Despite being a man down for the extended period of injury-time, Boro still hung on and an enjoyed a much happier trip home than their previous ones.