Boro suffer opening friendly defeat
Scarborough Athletic were dealt their opening defeat of pre-season on Saturday as they were beaten 3-2 in a cracking clash at home to FC United.
The Manchester outfit had struggled to cope with Boro for much of the 90 minutes, but they fought back and claimed a battling victory.
Having started their preparatory work in positive fashion, Boro continued their solid preparations by grabbing a 10th minute lead against the Conference North outfit.
Some smart play down the left involving Michael Coulson and Josh Lacey freed up Leon Scott. His lofted ball into the box was met by the head of James Walshaw and his effort crept beyond keeper Lloyd Allinson and into the net.
FC United tried to hit back immediately, with Jack Banister letting fly with an angled drive that was pushed away by Tommy Taylor's firm palm.
The visitors lost track of the game's friendly nature in the moments that followed, as Brad Barnes began kicking everything that moved and former Boro man Matt Dempsey earning a yellow card for a nasty challenge on Walshaw.
Set-pieces proved key in the run-up to half-time.
Boro were unlucky with a well-worked move, Coulson receiving a corner and then stabbing a low shot just wide of the target.
Then, with Boro having forced much of the first-half play, they came unstuck minutes before the break from an FC United training ground move.
The lanky Baird had caused all sorts of problems seconds earlier from a delivery, and he once again won a far post header, which was glanced home from a yard by Kurt Willoughby.
The action didn't fade away when the second half got underway, with Boro striking first.
It came in real route one style, as Taylor brilliantly picked out Wayne Brooksby on the left and two touches later it was in the back of the goal, courtesy of brilliant bending shot from 25 yards.
But the side from the division above showed their quality almost straight away, skipper Harry Winter lofting the ball over Taylor and into the far side of the net.
Then the away team snatched the lead after a gift of a back-pass from Ross Killock. Willoughby took full advantage, rounding the keeper and rolling home his second of the afternoon.
After a raft of changes for the teams, Boro almost took advantage of a present of their own.
Walshaw nipped in to rob Baird and lifted an effort over Allinson, but a defender sprinted back to hook the ball off the goal-line.
After a lull, probably due to the amount of alterations to both sides, Boro had a pair of useful penalty shouts within a matter of seconds.
Will Annan was sent sprawling as he delivered a cross into the box and from the resulting delivery, Brooksby's drive seemed to hit a visiting hand. Referee Matthew Dicicco said no to both.
Boro threw on the homegrown trio of Jackson Jowett, Matty Bowman and Jimmy Beadle in the last 10 minutes as they looked to restore parity.
That didn't materialise though, as the final moments petered out and Boro were handed their first defeat of pre-season.