Clinical Salford stun Boro

Salford's Gareth Seddon rises to head the third goal      Picture by Dom Taylor
Salford's Gareth Seddon rises to head the third goal Picture by Dom Taylor

Cutting edge proved to be the difference between Scarborough Athletic and Evo-Stik North leaders Salford City on Saturday at Queensgate.

Salford took their few chances in the 3-1 victory, while in stark contrast, Boro lacked the ability to polish off a tidal wave of opportunities.

Take nothing away from Boro, they dominated the big-spending table-toppers for long periods, and on another day it could have been a very different story.

Fortunately for Boro though their play-off push has been allowed a stay of execution, due mainly to defeats for rivals Farsley and Bamber Bridge.

And they will have to demonstrate similar battling traits in their final few games if they are to stay in with a shout.

Some good news for Boro going into this period is the return to full fitness of striker Gary Bradshaw, who was given a starting berth against Salford.

He was joined by Paul Robson, who had also recovered from injury, and new signing Dan Clayton.

Each played their part in a superb start for Boro, which left Salford struggling for a foothold.

Jimmy Beadle lifted a flick over the visitors’ bar in the opening minute, just before Boro took a richly-deserved lead.

Some incisive build-up allowed Alex Metcalfe a trace of space on the edge of the box and he let fly with an absolute screamer that gave keeper Jay Lynch no chance.

Metcalfe could have doubled the lead just a few minutes later when the ball fell to him on the penalty spot. He failed to control his shot though and the drive sailed over.

Salford offered little to this point, though they were clearly a threat. Gareth Seddon showed this with 15 minutes on the clock when he was played in on Cracknell, but the Boro keeper made an excellent stop.

Then came the turning point in the game, as Tom Corner was played in for a great chance on goal.

His low shot was well saved by Jay Lynch, and in the moments that followed the play switched swiftly to the other end.

But this time Seddon made no mistake with a dribbling finish that beat Cracknell and levelled the scores.

This wobble was followed by some questionable defending that gifted Salford the lead.

A long ball over the top got Dean Lisles and Ben Middleton in a muddle, and when the ball fell to Gary Stopforth 18 yards from goal, he stroked it into the bottom corner.

After this double blow, Boro soon re-found their feet for the final steps of the first period.

And they were so unlucky not to grab a leveller as the minutes ticked towards the half-time oranges.

Metcalfe met a ball into the box and planted a header firmly against the bar. The ball bounced down and was quickly hacked away before the Boro attack could converge.

Boro continued to press after the break, with the Salford defence taking something of a battering.

Centre-back Paul Linwood was using any means to keep his side ahead, even grappling heavy-handedly with Corner in the box, but referee Mr Atkin was having none of it.

Salford’s clinical nature soon came to the fore once again on the hour. Seddon rose sublimely to head a cross at goal, Cracknell did his best but the ball squirmed under his body and over the line.

This stung Boro into action and their impressive finish to the game lacked just one thing - goals.

Metcalfe had another good chance when the ball sat up nicely for him on the edge of the box, but his sliced his shot wide of the target.

Then sub Ryan Blott had another opportunity after good work from Bradshaw, but he stabbed wide.

Much of the late action was based aroun Blott, who followed up by whipping a free-kick just past the post.

The striker’s next effort curled just over the bar with Jay Lynch beaten.

Sadly for Boro time ran out just as they were reaching a crescendo.

More of the same will be required in the final games of the season if Boro are to maintain their faltering push for glory.