Beverley Town maintained their unbeaten record as they stormed to a 6-1 win over Scarborough Town.
The home side, packed with players of guile and experience, began at high tempo even though Adam Nicholson was the first keeper called into action to save a Shane Holt header following Josh Clayton’s free kick. The visiting defenders were still finding their footing on the steeply sloping pitch when Beverley’s Robbie Northen chased a long ball and held off Sam Smart before rounding Rob Clark to put the home team in front after only two minutes. After a spell of midfield action Northen set up another chance by wriggling clear of a challenge on the right and pulling the ball back for Mike O’Connell to net the second on 10 minutes.
Things got even worse for Town after 15 minutes when a corner from the right was headed in by an unmarked Northen to make it 3-0. Town reshuffled their formation and began to get a foothold in the game, and Sean Exley cut in from the left to feed Ben Luntley whose effort rolled agonisingly wide of the post with Nicholson beaten. Town piled on the pressure but were almost undone when a panicky clearance from the home keeper found its way downhill to Luke Thompson who went on to shoot just over the crossbar.
Jamie Bradshaw’s 20-yard effort was safely held by Nicholson, but Town contrived to fall further behind when a sloppily-underhit backpass was snaffled by Thompson and rolled into the net to make the score 4-0 after 23 minutes. Town were still trying to knit a pattern of midfield passes together and combined well to set up a shot for Exley which was saved, but this was Exley’s last action as he succumbed to an injury and was replaced by Aidan Thomas. Bradshaw then threaded his way through the home defence at speed and drew a tremendous save from Nicholson, but at the other end Thompson conjured up a chance out of nothing and hit a smart volley which was superbly parried by the flying Clark.
Bradshaw and Luntley co-ordinated to create a half-chance for Shane Holt but the defence denied the youngster at the last second. However Holt got onto the scoresheet with his first goal for Town when Luntley picked up a weak clearance and advanced to set up the shooting chance from ten yards which the 16-year-old took with confidence on 44 minutes.
Beverley were once again straight into action as the second half commenced, and Rich Gibson was through on goal but denied by a good save from Clark.
A left-wing probe from Luntley looked certain to provide a goal for Holt but a super tackle from Mike Dixon snuffed out the chance. Town earned a succession of corners at the bottom end of the ground, and a half-clearance saw Jamie Patterson hit a tremendous effort which whistled narrowly over the crossbar from 25 yards.
The Town defence were still exhibiting uncharacteristic hesitation at times, and O’Connell took advantage of one instance to grab possession and hook the bar just over the top of Clark’s goal. At the other end Holt seemed to be pulled back as he surged past the last defender and the chance came to nothing.
Much of the second half was played out in Beverley territory, but on 70 minutes the home side went further ahead when Town carelessly gifted substitute Aiden Anderson a chance which he converted from a narrow angle. Luntley and Holt combined well to feed Bradshaw who miscued his effort, then a corner was quickly taken and worked to Luntley who curled an effort just wide of the upright.
Town’s bad day got even worse when they conceded possession in the Beverley half and allowed O’Connell to race away and net number six after 81 minutes. Town persevered until the end, and Holt knocked the ball on to Luntley who was denied by a last-ditch tackle by Beverley’s admirable defence organised by Jon Ricardo which has conceded fewer goals than any other team in the league
Town: Clark, Nock (Manson 87), Clayton, Smart, Gill, Patterson, Bradshaw, Pickles, Luntley, Holt, Exley (A Thomas 32).