Boro's unbeaten start halted by leaders South Shields
Scarborough Athletic's unbeaten start to the season ended at a packed Flamingo Land Stadium on Monday, with two first-half defensive errors ruthlessly punished by title favourites South Shields.
Nathan Cartman returned to the Boro starting line-up in place of the injured Kieran Glynn, and the big-spending visitors, roared on by 500 supporters, made a blistering start to the NPL Premier Division fixture.
A snap-shot from Connor Tee was saved by Ryan Whitley’s outstretched leg, then Whitley did well to push away a powerful shot from Ntumba Massanka, before the visitors went ahead on eight minutes with the Boro defence appealing for offside, as Massanka burst through the middle and passed inside to Darius Osei, who slammed the ball into the net.
Shortly after Jordan Hunter fired inches wide as the early onslaught continued, but Boro then carved out a great chance, as a Cartman shot was deflected wide, and from the corner by Watson, Will Thornton’s header was blocked, and Cartman fired the rebound wide.
Boro enjoyed a good spell midway through the first half, with Hutton teeing up Cadman, who fired in a shot that brought a diving save from Shields keeper Myles Boney, then Ryan Watson struck a 30-yard free-kick narrowly over, and on 33 minutes Cartman flicked the ball on to the impressive Cadman, who raced through on goal, but Boney saved at his feet.
Boro keeper Whitley saved to deny Osei as Shields fought back, and they snatched a crucial second goal on 39 minutes when a mix-up in defence gifted Connor Tee the space to slot past Whitley.
Shortly before the interval Lewis Turner scuffed a shot wide for Boro.
Boro made two changes at the interval, and the second half was evenly contested with both sides creating chances. sub Kieran Weledji stabbed a shot wide for Boro, then Hunter and Osei raced clear for Shields.
Both looked well offside, but no flag was forthcoming, and Hunter squared the ball to Osei, who shot wide when faced with an open goal. Whitley made two good saves for Boro, first foiling Osei, then saving a Jack Bodenham header from a corner.
Watson fired a 20-yard free-kick wide, then Bailey Gooda made a superb tackle to break up a terrific four-man passing move from the visitors.
Boro’s best move of the game came on 78 minutes as Dylan Cogill, who had an excellent game, launched the ball forward and Coulson flicked on to Cartman, who turned a defender and struck a low shot that was superbly tipped round the post by keeper Boney.
Defender Thornton was pushed forward for the last ten minutes, but Shields held on comfortably to claim the points.
Cogill was superb at the heart of defence for Boro, with keeper Whitley once again on top form, and there were also good displays from Cadman, Thornton, Gooda and Turner.
Weledji put in a good shift throughout the second half, as did former York City skipper Simon Heslop, who impressed on his home debut.
The two uncharacteristic defensive lapses cost Boro dearly, but full-timers South Shields are a very good side, and they won’t lose many games this season.
BORO TEAM: Whitley, Gooda, Jackson (Weledji 46), Cadman (Gibson 86), Thornton, Cogill, Hutton (Heslop 46), Watson, Coulson, Turner, Cartman
BORO MAN OF THE MATCH: Dylan Cogill