Hazel strikes to give Boro play-off delight

Boro report
Boro report

Scarborough Athletic completed their miraculous play-off charge on Saturday afternoon, bagging a 1-0 win on the road at Colwyn Bay.

Having looked completely out of it just a couple of months ago, Boro surged to eight wins on the bounce and stretched their run of not conceding a goal to an amazing 728 minutes of league football.

It was never going to be easy, having travelled just shy of 200 miles down a busy M62, but Boro dug deep to land third spot and a home tie against Ossett Town in the play-off semi-finals.

The first half was a tense affair, with Boro shading the more meaningful attacking play.

Strikers Jacob Hazel and Benny Igiehon looked lively from the very first minute, when the former went flying in on Bay keeper Karl Wills with designs on nicking an early goal.

Igiehon then drifted gracefully down the right and smashed a shot just wide, before Wills almost spilled a Niall Flint cross into his own net.

Marshaled authoritatively by Dom Roma, the Boro defence comfortably repelled any home attack, many of which were usually focused around the pace and quick feet of Astley Mulholland.

Boro continued to press on, Igiehon, Craig Nelthorpe and Cameron Murray all going close to making that all-important breakthrough.

The atmosphere continued to build on the pitch and in the stands as the play-off dream was on a razor's edge due to the scores in the other Evo-Stik North grounds.

Things looked to have taken a positive swing right on half-time when Hazel was man-handled to the floor in the box, but referee James Madine was unmoved.

It was Hazel, a bright light in much of Boro's attacking play, who grabbed the huge goal 10 minutes into the new period.

The former Gainsborough man collected on the left, attacked his man and bent an effort into the bottom corner of the Colwyn Bay net.

This produced an enormous roar from a what was a hefty and vociferous away backing.

Jameel Ible arrived from the bench to add more stability to Boro, but that didn't stunt them as an attacking force.

The dancing feet of Murray cut incisively through the Bay defence, but he was superbly denied by Wills.

The impressive Dave Merris then looped a header into the hands of Wills, before Bay launched something of a late bid for the points.

With Boro lying fourth in the table at this point, Boro gritted their teeth and threw bodies on the line to make sure they protected the clean-sheet.

Their cause wasn't aided by an injury to attacker Igiehon, who had been a superb outlet all afternoon.

Boro weathered the Bay storm and then set out on the quest for a second goal.

The best chance fell to Murray, who again wriggled free on Wills, but stabbed a shot just wide.

Boro had done it though, holding on for all three points to make sure of their play-off place, and a late goal in the Ossett Town's game meant that Steve Kittrick's men jumped up to third and now enjoy key home advantage on Tuesday evening.