Boro hang on for opening win

Boro's James Bennett celebrates with Matty Plummer after netting the second at Hall Road    Pictures by Number 10 Sports Photography
Boro's James Bennett celebrates with Matty Plummer after netting the second at Hall Road Pictures by Number 10 Sports Photography

Scarborough Athletic made a winning start to their NCEL premier campaign on Saturday afternoon, but they were forced to cling on in a worrying climax.

It is never easy to collect the points at Hall Road Rangers’ Dene Park, but Boro just about did enough to bag a 2-1 win on the outskirts of Hull.

If the result was decided on possession then Boro would have run out comfortable victors, but Rangers’ battling spirit kept them in the running right until the end.

Boro did pass the ball beautifully around a rather uneven pitch despite starting the game without skipper Tony Hackworth, defender Matt Draper and Daz Winters also missing out the big kick off due to suspension.

Shades of this brilliance were visible in the first few minutes, as Blott put Ollie Ryan through, but he was challenged before he pulled the trigger.

It took Boro just 10 minutes to break the deadlock and it was this intricate play that proved to be decisive.

Paddy Miller freed up Blott out wide and he threaded a delightful throughball to Ryan. The striker kept his cool to smash the ball past keeper Ryan Ramsden, off the post and into the back of the net.

Two factors added to Boro’s lack of goals in the remainder of the half. The solidity of Rangers’ centre-back Craig Suddaby and the fact that Boro were electing to be a little too tippy-tappy around the box, rather than letting fly.

The lively front two of Blott and Ryan did get the odd shot away, with the former having an over-head kick saved and Ryan being denied from close range.

Ryan also failed to get boot on a Miller nod down as they looked to steamroller their opponents.

Hall Road did have a little to offer in the first half though, with player-boss Martin Thacker seeing his free-kick held by Kevin Martin and the Boro keeper went on to save well from Steve Gawthorpe and striker Rob Petch.

Rudy Funk’s men continued to pass their rivals out of the game when the new half began, treating a crowd of 290 fans to an exhibition at times.

Much of this focused around Boro’s former Brid man James Bennett, who alongside Tommy Adams in midfield, proved to be the hub of the action.

It was Bennett’s efforts going forward that kept Rangers on their toes, as his swirling free-kick was stopped by Ramsden, the midfielder also linked up cleverly with Ryan, but a scuffed shot was held.

The longer the game went on the more Rangers began to force themselves back into the game.

The frenetic Petch was the key to much of their attacking play, drilling just over and then going close with a deflected effort.

But it was the brilliance of Bennett that created the second of the afternoon’s play.

It seemed that his first free-kick was a sighter, as a second strike after 61 minutes dipped delightfully into the top corner of the net.

Boro could have wrapped things up in the following moments, but after a scramble in the box Ryan was denied.

Hall Road’s only path back into the game would come through the invention of Petch or a stroke of luck.

They had both with 20 minutes left, as Petch was softly eased to the floor by Gaz Clayton, debutant referee Mr Ballantyne pointed his finger at the spot.

Gawthorpe stepped up and slotted his kick past Martin.

Boro new boy Pete Davison came close to restoring the two-goal cushion, but his drive from distance smashed into the net behind the goal, rather than the one that mattered.

Boss Funk made a pair of changes in the final moments, with Gary Hepples arriving for Davison and exciting Robbie Hawkes making way for Bill Law.

The subs’ freshness was required as Hall Road began to adventure further up the fied on the quest for an equalising goal.

Many fans in Dene Park thought Liam Cattermole had grabbed this leveller when his angled drive from left-back fizzed just above the angle of bar and post.

The Hull side’s battling endeavor wasn’t enough though as Boro stumbled over the line for their first three points of the campaign.

Boro: Martin; Plummer, Clayton, Milne; Davison (Hepples), Adams, Hawkes (Law), Bennett, Blott, Ryan, Miller. Subs not used: Kemp, Ramm, Ingram.