Boro march on in the trophy

editorial image

Scarborough Athletic booked their last in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy when they edged a 2-1 victory at Cambridge City on Wednesday night.

After a long journey through the wind and rain, Boro swept their rivals from the division above out of the competition with a great smaash and grab performance.

Not only did they show grit on the night, but they also demonstrated the character and grit to hold on.

Boro rang the changes due to niggling injuries, with Ryan Blott, Lewis Clarkson and Steve Ridley all dropping to the bench.

Joe Lamplough slotted into the back four, while Bryan Hughes and Tom Davie took their place in a five across the centre of the park, Gary Bradshaw up front by himself.

Bradshaw ploughed a lone furrow in the early exchanges, with much of the early play taking place around a dampened centre-circle.

After their long journey, Boro looked a little shaky in defence. Matty Plummer slipped to allow Josh Dawkin in on goal, but he made up the ground to make a saving tackle.

Then Boro shut off, allowing a Ieuan Lewis cross to reach Nick Beasant, but the striker planted his header firmly wide.

Extra-time looked an inevitability, even at that stage, but then Boro began to come out of their shells.

With 10 minutes of the half remaining, Boro made a swift move down the right. Ryan Williams and Bradshaw moved the ball into the path of the raiding Plummer, who neatly finished.

City could have hit back immediately, but Beasant once again failed to find the finishing touch when in a great position.

Boro soon began pressing for the second. Bradshaw’s shot from the angle was held by Zac Barrett, Pete Davidson’s dink was deflected past the post, before Williams and Bryan Hughes had good efforts blocked.

The new half could have started badly for Boro when last man Andy Milne cut out a clear throughball with his hand. He was only punished with a yellow card, while James Brighton curled the free-kick wide.

Things soon got so much better for Boro when Bryan Hughes popped up with another trademark wondergoal from distance.

The former Premier League man collected 40 yards from goal and his strike sailed into the back of the net.

Within minutes Cambridge had a penalty when keeper Joe Cracknell felled Adam Marriott. Cracknell survived the shouts for a red card and pushed the penalty away, Marriott’s rebound going wide.

Then, almost immediately, referee Paul Evans pointed at the spot for a second time, citing handball.

This time Marriott made no mistake and the lead was trimmed back to one.

The game developed into a true blood and thunder cup tie after this, with the ball swinging from one end to the other.

Marriott angled a shot just past the Boro post, then at the other end Bradshaw lifted an effort over the keeper, but it landed on top of the goal.

Though Cambridge possibly had the better of the closing stages, Boro looked sharp on the counter and created some good chances.

Williams was unlucky not to kill the game off when he wriggled free and drilled at goal, but unfortunately his striker was blocked.

City still had plenty of give though and Cracknell produced another of his wonder saves to keep out a Lee Chaffey header in the dying embers of a thrilling fixture.