Town’s own goals help leaders to victory

Catch Derek Exley's weekly column in the Scarborough News
Catch Derek Exley's weekly column in the Scarborough News

Scarborough Town were hit by a double dose of bad luck when they conceded two unlucky own goals in their 3-1 defeat against Humber Premier League table-toppers Sculcoates Amateurs.

Town were without Gary homas and Aidan Thomas through illness and injury, and Jamie Bradshaw was a further absentee.

The home team were first to have a sight of goal, but Steve Gawthorpe’s long-range effort did not trouble Town keeper Rob Clark.

Then a storming run by Ricky Nock saw him scythe through the Sculcoates defence but his final shot was too close to keeper James Hitchcock.

A mazy run by Sean Exley set up a chance for Ben Luntley which was deflected over the crossbar, but it was certainly no surprise when Town took the lead after eight minutes.

A defence-splitting pass by Neil Thomas was anticipated by Exley who lobbed the ball accurately over the onrushing keeper to put Town 1-0 ahead.

Town piled on the pressure and Ricky Greening tried his luck from 25 yards but the shot passed wide of the goal.

The a great touch by Greening set up Martin Cooper who seemed to be taken down but the expected penalty kick was not given.

Luntley and Greening then combined to supply Exley who twisted and shot narrowly over the bar.

Against the run of play and with a dollop of good fortune Sculcoates equalised on 32 minutes.

A great tackle from Cooper denied Sculcoates a shooting chance at the expense of a first corner for the home team, but the corner kick was met at the near post by Tony Scruton whose effort came back off the upright and bounced back into the net off the unfortunate Clark.

Sculcoates now suddenly looked a better team and started passing the ball rather than hitting it early.

Town’s central defensive pairing of Baz Gill and Tony Pickles worked hard to repel the home attacks, aided by a flying header by Nock to clear the danger.

Town’s effort and application soon earned them the upper hand again, and Luntley set up Jon Manson to hit a piledriver which brought a tremendous save from Hitchcock.

Sculcoates had difficulty clearing two corners from Town, and Exley tried his luck with a snapshot which flew just wide.

On the stroke of half-time Sculcoates broke clear and Town were indebted to Nock for a terrific sliding tackle to retrieve the situation.

Sculcoates started the second period with added vigour, pressing Town deeper into defence, however a long ball gave Exley the chance to repeat his first half strike but on this occasion he failed to get the ball past Hitchcock.

Gawthorpe ploughed his way powerfully through the Town defence to take a shot which went over, but Town broke away with Exley finding Luntley and earning a corner which the home side had difficulty in clearing.

Pickles threw himself into a tackle to keep Town on level terms, but Sculcoates constructed an excellent move which ended with Danny Moon shooting wide from 20 yards.

Town then showed even better interpassing between Neil Thomas and Manson to set up Luntley whose effort was cleared off the line by a home defender.

Good initiative from Cooper then earned Town a corner which fell to Gill but Hitchcock was well positioned to save the shot.

Disaster struck Town on 71 minutes when they conceded their second own goal of the game.

Town seemed to have blunted a Sculcoates attack but Cooper slammed a clearance directly at Pickles, from whom the ball bounced back into the net past a helpless Clark.

Worse came within two minutes when Clark’s punched clearance did not gain enough distance and Ricky Field laid the ball off for Gawthorpe to make the score 3-1 from 18 yards.

Town seemed to sense the game was now beyond them but continued to work hard with Josh Clayton blocking a volley and Pickles making a desperate clearance.

Town’s two 16-year-old substitutes Shane Holt and Jackson Jowett were introduced to add a spark to the attack, but Sculcoates maintained their formation with determination and refused to yield a clear chance.

At the other end Clark got down to make a neat save at the near post and Thomas tracked back to make a timely headed clearance, but in the end Sculcoates’ second-half improvement was decisive - along with Town’s own goal misfortunes.

Town: Clark, Nock, Clayton, Pickles, Gill, Manson (Holt 77), Greening (Jowett 85), N Thomas, Luntley, Exley, Cooper