Boro draw with play-off rivals Mickleover

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Scarborough Athletic battled their way to a 2-2 draw against play-off rivals Mickleover Sports on Tuesday night.

Athletic had led the way, but a clinical free-kick from the visitors’ Chris Palmer made sure the spoils were shared.

Boro started the game without Gary Bradshaw and Jimmy Beadle, who were both suffering with tight hamstrings. The returning Ollie Ryan and former Hull man Bryan Hughes came into fill their gaps.

The hosts began in lively fashion, with Pete Davison and Bryan Hughes feeding the lively attack of Ryan and Ryan Blott.

It was against the run of play when the first opportunity fell to Mickleover and Simeon Oshoboke, but he dragged his shot just wide of Jason White’s post.

Boro struck soon after though, with a raid down the right freeing up Blott in the centre of the park. He rolled the ball into the path of Hughes, who calmly stroked home from the edge of the box.

Ryan was given the opportunity to return with a bang when more good approach play from Hughes gave him a chance in the box, but Mickleover keeper Chris Martin easily held his weak strike.

On a rare venture forward, Mickleover’s ex-Burton Albion man Aaron Webster was given the chance to test his shooting boots with a free-kick from the edge of the box, but his sights were off and his effort struck the wall behind the goal.

Blott’s radar also needed tweaking at the other end when he was sent in on goal. His chip beat Martin, but also beat the far post.

Blott got it right soon after when Steve Ridley brilliantly picked out Hughes in the box. The veteran whipped in a low cross and Blott stooped to convert at the far post.

Mickleover hit back immediately to make it 2-1 though. Webster showing a cool head when Jordan Ball delivered into the box.

That was the final meaningful action of the first half, though Boro almost made the perfect start to the second.

Hughes collected a ball from Blott and fired in a first-time shot that was met by the diving palm of Martin.

Martin matched Hughes once again minutes later, this time a slow drive was diverted to safety after Blott’s neat back-heel.

Boro should have added to their advantage as time ticked on. Chris Bolder guiding an acrobatic volley just wide and Blott bent just past the post following a switch by Ryan Williams.

Boro boss Rudy Funk decided to shuffle his pack, throwing on Jack Barlow for Hughes, who had been outstanding. Then, minutes later, Blott limped off to be replaced by Ben Middleton - Boro’s only other fit sub.

Boro were immediately put on back foot after these changes, as referee Paul Cook handed Mickleover a free-kick on the edge of the box. Former Derby man Palmer stepped up and bent the set-piece neatly into the stanchion.

There was plenty of huffing and puffing in the closing moments, but the game was lacking any real chances.

Sub Middleton had a header saved by the long arms of Martin, while Boro’s White was also kept busy with a number of comfortable stops.

A game that started in such promising fashion finished with something of a whimper, with both sides going home with a solitary point.