Scarborough Athletic slump to home loss against South Shields
Scarborough Athletic threw away a one-goal lead on Boxing Day and slumped to a 3-1 home defeat against promotion rivals South Shields.
Having returned to winning ways just a few days earlier at Workington, Boro looked bang up for the festive fixture.
After a scare just 27 seconds into the game when Carl Finnigan hit the sidenetting, Boro grabbed things by the scruff of the neck.
Their control of the first 15 minutes was rewarded by a delightful opener, with James Walshaw getting back on the goals trail.
Boro's top-scorer stepped up when a free-kick was won 25 yards from goal and he bent it beautifully past the weak palm of keeper Lee Connell.
It should have been two minutes later when Walshaw guided the ball into the path of Luke Lofts just six yards from goal, but leaning back, he lifted well over the bar.
The home threat continued when a wicked set-piece was delivered into the box. Nathan Valentine missed it and Walshaw could only guide it into the grateful hands of Connell.
A touch of concern followed at the other end, with Tommy Taylor getting nowhere near a set-piece into the box, fortunately Dave Merris was on hand to clear off the line.
Boro had a useful shout for a penalty when James Cadman looked to have been tripped in the box, the referee was having none of it though, showing the midfielder a yellow card for his efforts.
Shields' Lee Mason gave Boro a warning sign when he was played through on goal in the 40th minute, but Taylor stayed big to block his effort.
Walshaw found himself in a similar position soon after, his touch was heavy though and the chance was gone.
Right on half-time Boro were punished for not taking the chances they had missed, with defender Bailey Gooda handing Shields a late Christmas present.
He completely missed his kick allowing Mason in for a second time. On this occasion he made no mistake.
The pace slowed after the re-start, though Boro still looked sharp in attack. Cadman drilling just wide after good play between Coulson and Walshaw.
Keeper Taylor was kept on his toes just after the hour when he had to scramble back to his goal, luckily for Boro, Finnigan's lob sailed just over.
Boro were breached again with 15 minutes remaining, but Blair Adams' effort hit the bar and bounced away to safety.
Shields eventually struck the killer blow with around 10 minutes left on the clock.
Boro failed horribly to deal with a corner into their box and Mason popped up to notch his second of the afternoon.
The points were sealed and delivered when Boro were caught on the break with three minutes to go.
Sub Ben Harmison showed bags of quality to float the ball home from all of 35 yards with Taylor watching on in horror.
This rubbed more salt into the wounds of a Boro side, who had crumbled from world beaters in the early stages, to a sorry shadow of that in the latter.