Funk signs off with defeat

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The glitz and glamour of Rudy Funk’s era as manager of Scarborough Athletic came to an end in less than fitting style on Tuesday night.

Having led Boro to the glory of their biggest prize - the NCEL Premier title - Funk departed a despondant figure after the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Harrogate Railway.

Had his players known that this would be the final bow then maybe they wouldn’t have saved their worst performance of the season for such an unanticipating occasion.

Boro were comfortably taken apart by a Railway side that boasted an organised defence, an adventurous winger and a striker with a finishing touch.

Traits that the visitors clearly lacked on the night.

At times it would have been easier to look away as the pace of right-sided attacker Rob Youhill and the deadly eye of Nathan Cartman left Boro bloodied on the ropes.

So much so that Athletic were lucky to keep the score down to a meagre level that flattered them greatly.

Changes were made from Saturday’s FA Trophy capitulation at the hands of Darlington, as James Bennett, Chris Bolder and Nathan Evans all took their place in the starting team.

Notoriously slow starters, Boro gained some ground in the earaly stages, with Evans looking their best outlet.

He possibly should have opened their account when he galloped through on home keeper Tom Goodwin. And though his dink beat the stopper, it sailed the wrong side of the upright.

There was more bright play from Boro, with Ben Middleton angling a header past the post and then James Bennett bending a swirling free-kick just wide of the target.

But as the game progressed the positivity seemed to drain out of the game, and Boro.

Harrogate flanker Youhill had already gained plenty of joy out of full-back Steve Ridley when he jigged free and whipped in a fine cross that Cartman coolly slotted home.

Youhill then continued his torturing runs on the right, delivering to Fatlum Ibrahimi and then Cartman. The latter being denied by a superb challenge from Jimmy Beadle, one of the few Boro players to come out of the game with any credit.

Funk’s half-time words had worked wonders on numerous occasions during his time in charge, but this time they went unheeded and Boro continued to crumble.

Railway’s second goal came soon after the break when Malachi Farquharson’s flicked header whistled beyond Jason White and into the top corner.

The same player should have made it three when he prodded a Youhill centre just past the post.

The travelling Boro fans may have been expecting a few fireworks in the second half, but instead the visiting flames were doused by a torrent of Harrogate pressure.

Lawrance Hunter smashed just over the bar and then some comical defending allowed Farquharson in yet again, but fortunately Boro survived.

There was no let-up though and the creaking Boro defence was breached for a third time in the latter stages when Cartman nipped in for his second of the evening.

It took Boro a full 89 minutes to manage a shot on target, and that came in the form of a Ryan Blott free-kick which was brilliantly held by Goodwin.

That could have brought some cheer to the dying moments of Funk’s tenure. But as he marched from the dug-out, there was still the odd high-five in remembrance of the achievements that were managed under his guidance.