Boro cling on in home thriller

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Scarborough Athletic were involved in a ding-dong battle with play-off rivals Belper at Queensgate on Saturday afternoon, concluding with the sides splitting six goals.

The game swung one way to the other over the 90 minutes, though in truth the draw was probably the fair result.

Boro fought back from two goals down in the early stages, but after hauling themselves back into the Evo-Stik South fixture, they nearly managed to throw it away.

Keeper Jason White held himself responsible for the defeat last weekend at Sutton Coldfield, but he bounced back superbly with a number of superb stops, including the grasping of Jon Froggatt’s late penalty.

Boro started the game with Paul Foot back in the centre of the defence, while Hull City loanee Jack Barlow made his full debut on the left of midfield.

The hosts started positively and Foot almost managed a dream return to the side when he flicked a near-post header just wide of the target.

Things soon began going wrong though as Boro’s defensively capabilities evaporated after seven minutes and the division’s top-scorer pounced.

A set-piece was whipped into the box and Froggatt rose unchallenged to place an accurate header past White.

Jimmy Beadle looped a shot over at the other end, but the game continued to take a dive for Boro as a corner unveiled more frailties.

A combination of White and Andy Milne managed to clear an initial effort off the line, but Simon Harrison gobbled up the rebound from the edge of the six-yard box.

This forced a rise in tempo from Funk’s men, spear-headed by the unlikely, yet effective, partnership of Beadle and Gary Bradshaw.

When Ryan Williams’ cross from the right was played into the feet of Beadle, he delivered a neat low ball that was superbly converted by the preditorial Bradshaw.

Boro continued to batter their opponents in the closing stages of the half, forcing a string of corners that had Belper keeper Dave Ratcliffe flapping like one of the local seagulls.

After Bradshaw’s close-range header was saved, Boro finally grabbed the leveller when Beadle powered the ball home following a melee in the box.

There was a sting in the first-half tail though, as Boro shut down once again. Froggatt ran clear on goal and his weak shot beat the hand of White, the ball nestling in the bottom corner.

White did much better at the start of the second half when he held a wicked shot from Belper skipper Steve Warne.

The Boro bench opted for change, with Ryan Blott arriving for Steve Ridley and then Tom Davie coming on for Barlow.

The hosts looked to have grabbed their equaliser when Beadle’s downward header was netted by Milne, but the linesman’s flag ruled it out.

After the addition of Bryan Hughes to the fray, Matty Plummer somehow bundled the ball inches wide of the far post with Boro maintaining their pressure.

Boro finally made the breakthrough in the last 10 minutes of the game, when Pete Davidson’s jig into the box was halted by a crude challenge.

Bradshaw’s nerve was held and the ball fizzed into the net to level matters at 3-3.

But within minutes Belper were given a penalty of their own when Foot leaned too forcefully on sub Kieran Wells and Mr Whatling pointed at the spot.

Froggatt stepped up with plans of completing a hat-trick, but he scuffed a terrible effort at goal and White read it beautifully to keep things on par.

That wasn’t White’s final act as he superbly tipped over a rebound when Gareth Davies’ shot struck the bar. The Boro keeper then produced another magnificent stop from Warne to make sure his side held on for the point.