IF SCARBOROUGH Athletic’s exit from the FA Cup last weekend at Tadcaster was their worst 90 minutes in front of goal this season, the FA Vase tie agianst Worsbrough on Saturday was one of their best.
Boro’s visitors from Barnsley could not have complained if they had returned to South Yorkshire with double-figures in their conceded column.
Such was Boro’s dominance of a game which ended with only five goals scored, but on target chances numbering in the high teens.
Boro’s players were noticeably pumped up and focused, no doubt determined to put the Tadcaster debacle behind them and give the home fans something to enjoy.
Manager Rudy Funk made changes to his line-up. Curtis Bernard replaced Ant Lynam and Jimmy Ghaichem came in for Paddy Miller. The suspended pair of Frank Belt and Matt Draper were replaced by Bill Law and Gary Hepples – skipper Tony Hackworth dropping to a centre-back role.
From the off Boro attacked, using the wings as often as possible – with Law and Ghaichem being used as often as possible.
After two minutes Boro signalled their attacking intent with a cross by Denny Ingram which was flicked on by Joe Naylor to allow Ryan Blott to power a header goal-wards. Worsbrough keeper Jared Oxley tipped the effort over the bar – the first of numerous saves he would make.
But for all their possession in the opening exchanges, Boro found themselves 1-0 down after four minutes.
Adam Podmore robbed Dave Kemp on the break, and crossed low. Boro stopper Ed Eley blocked Lee Garside’s shot well, but Matthew Roberts followed up to score.
Boro didn’t start to feel sorry for themselves, and immediately attacked once more; And they were level within 90 seconds.
Blott showed all his class when he collected Law’s pass to set himself and blast into the top corner to equalise.
Boro were now buoyed and showing confidence coming forward, and in a five-minute spell they scored three more times to effectively kill off the game with just 22-minutes gone.
On 17 minutes Law cut inside from his right-wing berth to shoot low with his left-foot into the bottom corner from 20-yards.
Two minutes later is was Bernard’s turn, picking up a loose ball in the box and firing home.
Blott forced two more saves from Oxley before the next goal, from an unlikely source.
Having only scored 10 goals in over 100 appearances for the club, holding-midfielder Hepples wasn’t expected to be in the box much during the game, but it was he who rose highest to head in Law’s cross to scored Boro’s fourth.
The visitors were clearly shell-shocked, but they had no time to rest and regroup, as Boro kept their foot on the pedal and looked for more goals before half-time.
They couldn’t find a fifth however, as a Hepples volley was headed from the line by Liam McFadyen, Ghaichem had a penalty shout turned away, and Blott hit the under-side of the bar from an acute angle.
Half-time gave Worsbrough the respite they needed, and after the re-start Boro weren’t quite on the attack as strongly as the first half.
Blott and Bernard both had shots from distance held by Oxley, but neither could find the net again.
Eley had to be on his guard to keep out two late efforts from Worsbrough strikers Garside and Podmore.
Boro did finally find a fifth goal in injury-time to seal the win and a trip to Parkgate in the third qualifying round.
Bernard played in sub Ant Lynam who took a touch to steady himself and slide the ball past the on-rushing Oxley.
A fitting book-end to a good performance which Funk and Boro’s fans will hope is a catalyst for a run of victories in the league.