Boro cut down Eastwood

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Scarborough Athletic continued to flex their muscles in the Evo-Stik South on Saturday, though they were handed a stiff examination by a makeshift Eastwood Town outfit.

Boro did have enough quality to grind out the 3-1 victory on the road - the eighth straight win pushing them up to seventh in the standings.

Having produced some devine football in recent weeks, Boro showed their gritty side on a day for the football purist.

A gale force wind blew straight down an Eastwood pitch that looked to have cut up badly under the weight of Evo-Stik fixtures.

After a few nervous moments during a bruising encounter, Boro boss Rudy Funk emerged from the 90 minutes a very happy man.

“We did a very professional job in very difficult conditions for both teams,” said Funk.

“The wind was horrendous and the playing surface didn’t do the teams any justice, turning the game into a real battle.

“Fortunately our quality came through and we could have possibly won by a bigger margin in the end.

“It was never going to be easy for us because Eastwood have had a difficult week. Their manager has left the club and a number of other people have shown an interest in the job, because of that their players were all very keen to impress.

“The lads stuck with it and worked hard and we are all delighted to come away with the three points.”

Ryan Blott struck a glorious double to set Boro on the way, while Gary Bradshaw maintained his outstanding goalscoring run by bagging the third from the penalty spot.

Funk added: “The second goal Ryan scored was just world class. He looked where the keeper was and put it right in the top corner of the net.

“At the moment it is the Ryan Blott and Gary Bradshaw show, though at the same time everyone is playing well.”

After a gruelling run of fixtures, Boro have now been handed a brief respite as they are without a midweek game.

“We have played three games in seven days so the week off will be massive for us.

“It gives us time to regroup and shake off any niggling injuries that we have before we go again on Saturday.”

The game got away to a slow start with the tricky conditions hampering the quality of the play.

Boro soon began to play the better football, with Eastwood opting for the lofted ball to utilise the pace of Vijay Selvam and former Athletic man Henry Sibenge.

The gloom was soon lifted off the chilly December afternoon when Blott produced a moment of brilliance.

Ryan Williams drilled a cross through a static Eastwood defence and after a couple of fortunate ricochets Blott stole in to drill under James Wren.

The lead only lasted a couple of minutes as Eastwood stunned Boro with a swift equaliser.

Visiting stopper Jason White failed to grasp a header in the box and Sibenge popped up to haunt his old club with a neat finish.

Boro soon looked to bounce back from this chink in their armour and they were unlucky not to reassume the ascendancy when Williams’ free-kick was held by Wren.

The Eastwood keeper could do nothing though just after the half-hour when Blott found some more space in the box and he expertly bent his effort into the top corner of the net.

Blott was then denied his third of the afternoon when his far-post header was brillianlty held by the overworked Wren.

This was the last meaningful action of the half, leaving Boro buoyed by the prospect of playing with the wind at their backs in the second period.

Boro upped the ante when the action restarted, though the only real chance created was a sweet volley from Blott that was comfortably stopped by the keeper.

Having defended stoutly and frustrated Boro, Eastwood finally began to come out of their shells around the hour mark.

They provided a number of worrying moments for the Boro backline, one forcing Andy Milne to clear a Sibenge shot from right under his own crossbar.

Boro switched back through the gears in the closing minutes though and they finally grabbed the cushion that eased them to the victory.

Having struck the post moments earlier, Bradshaw was given the opportunity from the penalty spot after Williams’ dink had been handled in the box.

The striker stepped up confidently and rammed the ball home for his 14th league goal of the campaign.

This settled the nerves and Boro continued to express themselves going forward.

Bradshaw was unfortunate not the seal a brace when he was sent through by Pete Davidson, but he lifted the ball over the home bar.

Boro we comfortably safe by this point though, well on the way to another haul of points that nudges them closer to a berth in the division’s play-off positions.