Scarborough Athletic’s play-off quest was given a huge shot in the arm on Saturday when they produced a resilient performance at Droylsden’s Butcher’s Arms.
A last-gasp Tom Corner goal booked a 2-1 victory that keeps Boro in the third play-off place with just 12 matches remaining.
The three points were made even more vital by the fact that Droylsden were hot on Boro’s coattails heading into the fixture.
Things could have been very different after a bruising 90 minutes of football, as Droylsden levelled the proceedings up heading into the final acts. But Corner’s deadly finish in the final seconds kicked off the celebrations among the travelling fans and players.
Boro made two changes to their starting line-up, Ben Middleton and Jimmy Beadle replaced the injured duo of Dean Lisles and Kieran McCaffrey.
Beadle produced one of few first-half highlights when he collected 25 yards from goal and crashed the ball just wide.
By this point Boro’s tactics were working a treat, as the Evo-Stik North’s most potent strikeforce struggled to create any meaningful opportunities.
It was a similar situation for Boro, though the hard-working pairing of Cameron Murray and Alex Metcalfe did construct the odd chink in Droylsden’s armour.
Murray discovered a little space in the box, but keeper Craig Ellison tipped brilliantly over.
Then the lively Matty Plummer let go with a glorious strike from 35 yards that grazed the top of the Droylsden bar.
Droylsden’s frustration began to show when the second half got underway, with much of their irritation being cause by the crunching tackling of Beadle.
One such challenge, on full-back Danny Ting, produced a flash-point that was led by Natt Kerr, who vociferously demonstrated his annoyance to ref William Smallwood.
When the game finally restarted, Droyslden began to dish out a few stiff tackles of their own.
Boro stuck to their task though, and they finally broke the deadlock just before the hour.
It was Beadle who arrived in the right place at the right time to finish off a goalmouth scramble with a vicious drive into the top corner.
A string of chances followed, but Beadle, Metcalfe and Plummer all failed to extend Boro’s advantage.
The best of these opportunities fell to Corner, who hit a sweet drive from 10 yards that was blocked on the line.
Boro opted for solidity after this, with Murray retreating to the bench and Steve Ridley replacing him in the middle of the park.
The hatches were battened down as Boro dug in to hang on for the victory.
But it all went wrong with just a few minutes remaining, as Ciaran Kilheeney came alive in the box and poked Droylsden level.
A stunned Boro almost conceded for a second time, as Ben Deegan burst into the box and smashed in a drive that flashed across the goal.
Having dodged that blow, Boro’s threw on Ryan Blott for the five minutes of injury time, and what an impact the striker made.
With just seconds remaining, Blott nipped infront of a defender and lofted an effort over a stranded Ellison.
The ball hit the bar and bounced down into a crowded penalty area, where Corner reacted first to prod home the winner.
Boro cautiously manoeuvred their way through the final moments to seal a fine victory that could prove to be very important in the club’s push for glory.