Shoot-out success for Boro

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Scarborough Athletic had just enough on Tuesday night as they edged out Pickering Town on penalties in the North Riding FA Senior Cup.

In truth, Pickering were possibly the better side over a flat 90 minutes of derby action, but Boro kept their nerve to win the resulting shoot-out.

New keeper Joe Cracknell played his part, as he got a firm hand to Lewis Taylor’s first spot-kick, in contrast each of the Boro penalty takers found the net.

Cracknell was the main alteration as Boro fielded a strong side for the cup clash, due mainly to the shortened run-out against Bamber Bridge on Saturday, which was cut short due to Chris Bolder’s knee injury.

Bryan Hughes and Paul Foot’s men were given a stiff examination from the off, as a rejuvenated Pickering showed hunger and determination under the leadership of caretaker boss Tony Hackworth.

Former Boro man Frank Belt smashed an early effort over the bar of returning loanee keeper Cracknell - not the first time the Hull City youngster would be involved.

At the other end of the field Gary Bradshaw cut in decisively from the left and fired into the side-netting.

The blood and thunder tie burst into life after 19 minutes when the Pikes failed to deal with a corner and the presence of Ben Middleton bundled the ball home.

Tackles soon began to fly in from either side as it turned into a battle for control.

Pickering were the next to raise their heads from the tussle when Joe Danby’s dance into the box was crudely ended by a late challenge.

Midfielder Taylor stepped up and confidentloy converted to level the scores.

Pickering probably shaded the final 15 minutes of the half, with the best chance falling to Billy Logan. The former Athletic attacker beat Cracknell in a race to the ball, but he rolled his effort just wide of the target.

Boro started the new half with a little more drive and they were unlucky when Bradshaw looked to have beaten the off-side trap on the way to netting - the linesman’s flag had other ideas.

Boro threw on Ryan Williams and Nathan Evans as Pickering once again assumed control of the tie.

Boro’s Cracknell continued to earn his corn though, racing out to deny Taylor a second and he then pushed away Chris Batchelor’s low free-kick.

Jimmy Beadle continued to drive Boro forward against his former teammates and he sent a screamer at goal that grazed the top of Callum Myers’ bar.

This jolted Boro into life and the began a sparkling spell.

Firstly Williams showed some sublime wing-play, but Alex Peterson and Evans failed to gather in the box.

Then the newly introduced James Bennett bent a glorious effort just wide.

As the minutes ticked on Boro were left hoping that the killer touch that deserted them in and around the box would be there for the deciding shoot-out.

Fortunately that was the case.

Ryan Blott smashed Boro ahead and Cracknell put the pressure on the Pikes when he saved Taylor’s kick.

Peterson, Evans, Williams and Steve Ridley all produced calm finishes to make sure Boro progressed, though there were similarly placid efforts from Logan, batchelor and Belt, who kept Pickering in with a deserved shout.