Boro back on it with Bloods success
Scarborough Athletic dragged themselves back into the promotion shake-up on Tuesday night, beating Droylsden 2-0 at the Flamingo Land Stadium.
Had the game been a boxing match then it would have been stopped at the break as Boro powered forward with no joy.
The job was finally done after the break though, with goals from James Walshaw and Michael Coulson wrapping up the victory.
Boro opted for change heading into the game by playing a 4-4-2 formation, Max Wright and James Cadman taking the wide roles, while Walshaw and Coulson slotted into the attacking focal point.
Both strikers had efforts in the first few minutes, with Walshaw dancing onto a through ball, but firing into the side netting. Coulson then wriggled onto a Cadman ball, his effort was straight at keeper Branagan.
Branagan was not alone in warming his gloves, as Boro custodian Tommy Taylor had to get down well to keep out a drive from the lively Domaine Rouse.
Taylor continued to earn his corn when he managed to end a melee in the box by grasping Jacques Kpohmouh's shot.
Then, with play switching to the other end, Walshaw should probably have opened his account for the evening when he was presented to a pair of great chances.
Firstly the striker was gifted the ball on the penalty spot, but he dwelt after rounding Branagan and the opening was gone.
Then he was sent clean through on Branagan once again, but the low strike was kept out by the keeper's legs.
In true basketball fashion, Droylsden then set off on a counter and Sam Hewitt was forced to make a superb saving tackle to deny Rouse.
Then, in a frenetic two minutes, Walshaw cut back brilliantly, but nobody was there, Coulson had a flicked header deflected wide and then Jack Johnson saw two low drives blocked under the crossbar.
Having failed to break through in the first period, Boro reverted back to 4-3-3 in the second half and it almost paid immediate dividend.
Cadman marauded onto a loose ball on the edge of the box, his low shot squirmed just wide.
There was no let-up as the second-half minutes ticked on. Coulson saw his shot pushed away for a corner by some part of Branagan's body.
Then the keeper did very well to tip away a Wright drive that swung in the air.
So it really wasn't a shock when Boro finally moved ahead. Walshaw took advantage of a mistake at the back and strode through to roll home with Coulson in support.
With the celebrations still fresh in the mind, Boro shut off seconds later and Droylsden almost restored parity, but after cutting through, Ben Barber tested the strength of the side netting.
It was always about game management after this, with Droylsden continuing to look a threat with their pace on the break.
The Bloods' resolve was finally broken with just a few minutes remaining though, when Coulson was felled spectacularly in the box by Branagan.
After some brushing down, Coulson stepped up and calmly rolled home.
The final seconds were comfortably seen off and Boro ended their slight blip with a win and a fine performance to boot.