Boro pegged back by New Mills in six-goal thriller
In a see-saw encounter, Boro looked to have booked all three until a last-gasp blow that earned opponents New Mills the chance to level up at 3-3.
Rudy Funk’s men swung from the ridiculous to the sublime in 90 minutes of football that entertained a ground over-run with travelling Boro fans.
These supporters were given a huge boost at the start of the fixture thanks to the news that striker Ryan Blott had opted to stay at the club rather than moving to Tadcaster.
He slotted into an unchanged side, who were looking to maintain an upturn in Evo-Stik North form.
That was not the case in a first half of football that would have left the Boro bench wincing.
This slow start was underlined after just a few minutes when Porja Ahmadi crashed home at the second attempt after Jason White had brilliantly stopped his first effort.
Boro were roused by this goal, but they struggled to break down an organised Mills defence marshalled by Warren Gaskin.
Athletic’s cause wasn’t aided by the match officials, as they contrived to make a number of baffling decisions during their hour-and-a-half to forget.
One of these rulings allowed Ross Needham to fire a shot just over White’s bar, despite the fact that Pete Davidson was hacked down in the build-up.
It was Boro’s slackness that came to the fore towards the end of the half, creating the opportunity for Mills to double their lead.
A quick break left the Boro defence on the back-foot, White was given the chance to clear his lines but the ball fell straight to Ahmadi, who doubled his account from the edge of the box.
Firm words were needed at the break and this talk seemed to work as Boro came out a revitalised side.
Despite this, Funk’s men should have been three behind with just a minute played.
Ben Middleton fouled Matt Barlow a good yard inside the box, but the referee judged that the offence had occurred outside.
Boro almost responded immediately when Jimmy Ghaichem drilled a cross into the box, Blott failed to get a hold of it though and it bounced to safety off his thigh.
More sustained pressure led to Ghaichem forcing home a Ryan Williams shot, but the diminutive attacker was flagged for offside.
Boro’s pressing finally told when Jimmy Beadle managed to outjump the flailing arms of the Mills keeper to angle a header into the bottom corner.
Then just minutes later, Blott played a delightful ball into the path of Gary Bradshaw, who showed a calm head when finishing.
There was more to come from Boro and this time they were helped by the referee, who awarded them a penalty that clearly wasn’t.
Williams was beaten to the ball by full-back Shaquille Antoine-Clarke outside the box. Instead of pointing for a throw-in, the official gave a spot-kick that Beadle crashed home for his second of the afternoon.
Like any good thriller, there was a late twist that wrote off Boro’s quest for the victory.
Antoine-Clarke seemed to place a clear shove in the back of Steve Ridley on Boro’s left touch-line before he delivered a great ball into the box. Ahmadi’s shot from this ball was hacked away by Paul Robson, but just as the ball looked to be crossing the line, Beadle dived on it.
This resulted in a penalty, which was converted by Dan Grimshaw. It also led to two-goal hero Beadle being given his marching orders. A disappointing climax to a cracking game of football.