Scarborough Athletic gathered another key three-point haul on the road at Parkgate, though they certainly didn’t produce their best performance.
The victory was all that mattered though, as it kept Boro on course for their goal of promotion from the NCEL Premier.
Rivals Brighouse Town and Bridlington Town were always expected to pick up comfortably victories in their games, so it came down to Boro to follow suit.
They achieved their aim, but they had to stumble over the line, as a resilient Parkgate pushed them all the way.
The victory also came at a price, as Ryan Blott limped off with a hamstring strain and centre-back Andy Milne was sent off to hospital after taking a kick to his hip.
Milne’s injury was an example of a lack of protection for the Boro players, who seemed to be second-class citizens to referee Nigel Smith.
The Chesterfield official seemed swayed by Parkgate’s home standing, with a string of strange decisions underlining this.
It was Boro’s generosity that firstly came to the fore in the opening few minutes, when Arran Reid’s weak kick fell to Craig Fletcher, but his shot was easily held by the visiting keeper.
This provided the kick that Rudy Funk’s men needed, as soon after Boro claimed the initiative.
Tony Hackworth weaved his magic out wide on the right and delivered a cross that only needed a glancing blow from Ryan Blott to force it into the back of the net.
The chances came thick and fast at both ends, with Boro showing the flair and Parkgate demonstrating the art of the counter.
Fletcher almost broke his duck after a sweetly-struck drive, then Paddy Miller flicked a header at goal that Blott was unlucky not to convert.
It was Parkgate who struck next though. Matty Plummer seemed to have ushered Tom Roebuck away from goal, but then he lost his head and hacked him to the floor. Sam Smith smashed home past a stranded Reid.
Parkgate’s burly keeper Rob Poulter then had something of a nightmare, though he got off scott-free.
After winning the ball on the edge of the box he ran it out of play and fell into the hedge. Meanwhile a throw was taken to Denny Ingram, who whipped in a croos that Blott planted just past an unguarded post.
In contrast, Reid was on his game as he made a superb save to deny Sam Smith.
James Bennett was given an outing from the bench to replace Milne and things were switched around with Louis Horne moving from left-back to centre-back, Miller slotted in on the left of the defence.
Despite the alteration, Boro finished the half in powerful fashion, with a pair of quick-fire goals.
Jimmy Beadle showed a composed head when he nodded Blott’s cross into the back of the net. Then Hackworth was sent sprawling in the box and Bryan Hughes stepped up to score his first for the club from the spot.
Blott didn’t come out for the new half, as he was replaced by the livewire that is David Brown.
The first real action was at the other end though, as Parkgate were offered a penalty that was an absolute embarrassment.
Fletcher fell over in the box and attempted to pin it on Plummer, The referee bought this and pointed straight at the spot. Possibly feeling a trace of guilt, Fletcher smashed his kick against the bar.
The ref did get a decision right soon after when Horne’s slack challenge brought Steve Brammer down. Parkgate argued that the attacker was through on goal, but thankfully, with the ball heading straight out towards the corner flag, only a yellow was offered.
Jamie Smith drilled the free-kick just past Reid’s post and then, seconds later, he dragged his effort wide when he should probably have scored.
The Parkgate striker finally got it right when some awful defending gave him a clean shot on goal. Reid saved his first, but he couldn’t miss the second.
Boro puffed out their cheeks for the closing stages and showed exactly why they are where they are in the table.
Beadle and Brown both had efforts just past the upright and Bennett hit a fine drive that tested its strength.
The pressure finally told though, when sub Tommy Adams lobbed a delightful ball over the top, Brown brought it down and Beadle stole in to crash it home.
The cushion was more than enough, and despite the scrappy affair and the disjointed performance, Boro remained on track.