Boro stun Harrogate with away-day victory
Scarborough Athletic demonstrated all of their pre-season promise on Tuesday night with a cracking 2-1 win at National League side Harrogate Town.
Boro were outstanding at times against their opponents and richly deserved their away-day victory.
Harrogate boasted glimpses of the examination that Boro boss Steve Kittrick had wanted in the opening minutes, but it was actually the visitors that began with the wind in their sails.
A darting Michael Coulson run from the byline teed up strike partner James Walshaw, but his effort was blocked.
Nathan Valentine did manage to squirm free of the Harrogate back-line minutes later, but former Boro keeper Joe Cracknell saved well with his legs.
The National League side's quality carved open the Boro defence after 16 minutes, but George Thomson fluffed his lines, dragging his shot wide of the target.
With the sun setting overhead, the standard began to dip with it, with an attractive start giving way to a midfield skirmish.
A moment of sheer brilliance shattered the deadlock though and it was that man Coulson who provided it.
His strength to hold off his man and then delightful centre put things on a plate for Valentine, he wasted no time in gobbling up the chance from six yards.
Harrogate's livewire wideman Thomson wasn't to be outdone though, orchestrating a leveller soon after.
His wicked, driven cross into the box flew past the Boro defence and Aaron Williams popped up on the far post to convert.
Thomson almost scored a goal of his own after this, bending a sweet drive that seemed destined for the top corner until a Tommy Taylor palm diverted it away.
That was the last act of a first half that saw Boro holding their own against opponents from much higher up the non-league rungs.
They in fact did more than this when the curtain lifted on the new period, with Steve Kittrick's side restoring their one-goal cushion.
Coulson was at his creative best when playing in James Walshaw and the striker showed his poaching skills by smashing it across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
After another respite in the highlights, it was Harrogate who came so close to restoring equilibrium after an error in the Boro midfield.
Dom Knowles was rolled in on goal, but Taylor spread himself and denied him with a textbook piece of goalkeeping.
As the shadows began to lengthen across the pitch, the game began to stretch, with tired legs playing their part.
Harrogate always looked sharp in attack and Ross Killock had to deflect a vicious goal-bound drive over the bar as they pressed.
At the other end, Walshaw saw a grass-cutting strike spilled by Cracknell, but cleared away before anyone else could pounce.
Coulson brought a full-length save out of Cracknell, before Valentine rose to meet a James Cadman cross, but he looped his free header over.
Valentine almost wrapped up the game in style as the minutes crept towards injury-time.
He flicked the ball up and let fly with a Matt le Tissier esque effort, but the strike sailed just over Cracknell's bar.