Scarborough Athletic’s 3-2 success at Armthorpe on Saturday may not have been pretty, but it was effective.
Boro were far from at their best on a bitter afternoon, but they still did enough to collect the points to push them up to second in the NCEL Premier.
With Tommy Adams suffering the effects of a cold and injuries to Dave Kemp and Matty Plummer still twingeing, Boro brought in Denny Ingram, Robbie Hawkes and Paddy Miller.
This was a game that struggled to create any fluidity in the first few minutes, as both sets of players battled to cope with a bobbly pitch and the freezing conditions.
Boro soon began to edge out of their shells, inspired by lively flankers Robbie Hawkes and Jermain Hollis, who gradually began to gain the upper hand on their respective full-backs.
It was Hollis who broke the deadlock with 15 minutes on the clock, after Blott weaved his magic on the edge of the box. The striker gained just enough space and fired in a drive that William Biggs failed to hold. Hollis pounced and drilled a neat drive under the body of the advancing keeper.
After that neat switch in gear, many would have expected Boro to put the foot on the gas, but instead it was Armthorpe who forced their way back into the game.
Andy Milne hooked the ball brilliantly off the line when keeper Steve Wilson spilled under pressure from Joe Lumsden and Boro looked uneasy whenever Armthorpe applied the pressure.
So it wasn’t a stunning surprise when the hosts levelled matters up in the latter stages of the half.
Player-boss Leo Fortune-West used all of his experience when he tossed a tempting cross over the the far post and skipper Paul Ashton met the ball with his head, giving Wilson no chance.
There was still time for Boro to test the strength of the Armthorpe woodwork, as Pete Davidson sent in a swirling cross that beat everyone but the bar.
As the darkness descended on the pitch the temperature began to drop, crisping up an already challenging surface.
Boss Rudy Funk felt that a change was needed at the break, as he introduced diminutive attacker David Brown, who slotted into a three-man attack in place of Hawkes.
Brown’s pace immediately came to the fore, with his raiding on the left driving Boro through the Armthorpe rearguard.
It was one of these darting Brown runs that freed up James Bennett on the bye-line. His wicked cross bemused centre-back Craig Molley and bounced off his knee into the back of the net.
Boro smelt blood, with both Blott and Bennett having scuffed shots blocked after a mass melee in the box.
Things soon began to heat up in the chill, with handbags breaking out between Fortune-West and Miller after a wayward tackle. This resulted in a silly booking for the Boro man, which caused more problems later on.
The visitors wrapped things up with 15 minutes left when Tony Hackworth struck his fourth in five games.
Having worked his way in from the right, Hackworh skimmed in a low cross-cum-shot that pinged into the net off the post.
Brown and Miller were both denied by keeper Biggs, before the game took a sour turn.
A nothing challenge in the centre of the park led to Armthorpe’s Lumsden damaging his cruciate knee ligament. He was carried off the pitch without a stretcher after a 10-minute stoppage and the hosts restarted with a bang.
Fortune-West looked to have been dragged down in the Boro area and James Walker clinically finished the spot-kick.
Things got gradually worse for Boro when Miller petulantly threw the ball away and he was awarded a second yellow card for his trouble.
Boro hung on for another valuable three points though that keep them right up their in the quest for the title.
More embarrassing immaturity followed after the final whistle, with a few fans getting involved in exchanges, but thankfully things finally calmed down.