Five-star Boro ease past Nostell

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Scarborough Athletic maintained their advantage at the top of the NCEL Premier Division after brushing aside Nostell Miners Welfare at Queensgate.

Boro were far from their fluent best, but three goals in a devastating nine-minute first-half spell paved the way for a comfortable 5-0 success.

The visitors were rocked by the loss of their goalkeeper Lee McGrath in the warm-up, forcing defender Matthew Denton to deputise between the sticks.

Denton enjoyed a quiet opening 13 minutes as both sides struggled to get into their stride, but having tipped a Robbie Hawkes drive around the post, the stand-in gloveman was picking the ball out of his net moments later as Boro moved ahead.

The Welfare failed to deal with Denny Ingram’s long throw-in from the right and when the ball landed at the feet of Ryan Blott just a couple of yards from goal, Athletic’s top scorer made no mistake.

The West Yorkshiremen had a great chance to level things up within 60 seconds but Graham Marchant fired over when well placed and Boro went straight down the other end of the pitch and doubled their advantage.

A sweeping crossfield move saw the ball switched from right to left into the path of Paddy Miller who made the most of the space afforded to him, powering towards the corner of the Nostell area before smashing the ball across Denton and into the back of the visitors’ net.

Despite being firmly in the ascendancy, Boro were looking uncharacteristically disorganised at the back and Dave Nicholas was inches away from reducing the arrears when he charged down a lazy clearance by Boro stopper Arran Reid.

Funk was forced to shuffle his pack with James Bennett entering the fray to replace Matty Plummer who limped off with a thigh problem, but the re-organisation didn’t seem to affect Athletic as they made it 3-0 half way through the first period.

Mitchell Pearson took far too long in attempting to clear Paddy Miller’s cross from the left and Jimmy Beadle nipped in to steal the ball and plant it past Denton for his sixth goal in his last six outings.

Despite there being just 23 minutes on the clock, the game was already over as a contest, although Marchant still had the chance to fluff another glorious opportunity, his feeble attempt at a lob when clean through on goal dropping gently into Reid’s arms as the Seadogs again rode their luck at the back.

There were no more goals before the interval, however Blott did see a hopeful effort headed to safety by Nicholas from underneath his own crossbar following a mix-up in the Nostell defence.

Boss Funk must be wishing his side could play all of their fixtures at Queensgate as Boro struck twice more after the interval to take their tally to an impressive 34 goals in their last seven home NCEL fixtures, a run of victories in which they have conceded just three times.

Athletic’s fourth arrived just seven minutes into the second half when Tony Hackworth’s clever diagonal pass released Hawkes who pulled the ball back across the face of goal for Bennett who could not miss from barely a yard out.

The hosts began to create more chances as the game became stretched and Hawkes fired narrowly over before Hackworth eventually notched the fifth of the afternoon in the 74th minute.

Reid sparked an incisive counter attack, picking out Blott on the halfway line with a huge throw, and Boro’s number nine exchanged passes with Hackworth before cutting in from the left and setting his strike partner up for an easy finish past the advancing Denton.

The lively David Brown - who replaced Hawkes in the 63rd minute - went close on a couple of occasions and Blott almost registered his second of the game as Boro ended proceedings firmly on the front foot.

Vintage Boro it was not, however, Funk’s charges were streets ahead of their opponents in all departments and were good value for a 5-0 win that keeps them top of the NCEL pile.