Tom Corner’s first half goal was enough to guide Scarborough Athletic to a 1-0 victory over Farsley Celtic on Tuesday evening.
A vintage performance it was not, but Boro fans can take plenty of heart from the fact that - as has been proved time and time again in football – the sign of a good side is one that can win when not at its best.
On the night, centre-halves Nathan Peat and Ryan Qualter turned in near-faultless displays to ensure that Boro held on to triumph in a contest that Farsley did not deserve to lose.
After a decent start to proceedings, the Seadogs lost their way, and in the end, it was largely due to an impressive rearguard performance that they managed to secure a positive result.
Having created chances for fun in their 3-0 win at New Mills just three days earlier, it was no surprise that Boro began the game in positive fashion.
With seven minutes gone, Corner progressed down the right before testing visiting gloveman Tom Taylor with a well-struck effort.
Moments later the same player rose majestically at the near post to meet a free-kick from the right flank, but his header was straight into the arms of the Farsley stopper.
Boro’s number nine was proving a real livewire and so it came as no great surprise when it was he who opened the scoring with 19 minutes on the clock.
A corner kick was whipped in from the right and after it was helped on towards the far post, Taylor fumbled the ball into the path of Corner who forced it home from no more than a couple of yards out.
Having taken the lead, Boro’s foot started to ease off the gas as the half progressed.
Although Peat did extend Taylor with a curling free-kick from the right edge of the penalty area after 24 minutes, more and more of the play was taking place inside home territory as half-time approached.
The visitors’ first opportunity of note arrived when Lewis Nightingale drove a free-kick into a dangerous area and it was deflected just wide of Ben Simpson’s upright, with Athletic’s keeper rooted to the spot.
With right winger Nightingale becoming inreasingly influentuial down that side of the pitch, a couple more threatening balls were fired across the Athletic box, but fortunately for the hosts, there was nobody on the end of them.
Having finished the first half firmly second best and having given away no less than 14 fouls in the opening 45 minutes, a strong beginning to the second period was required from Boro.
And the perfect start almost arrived just six minutes after the resumption courtesy of the head of Alex Peterson.
The former Doncaster Rovers man climbed highest to reach an inviting left-wing centre, but he failed to generate sufficient power and Taylor was able to make a routine stop.
The same player then fired a left-footed volley over the bar from 20 yards out and Dominic Rowe showed blistering pace down the left wing only to see his low effort deflected out for a corner as the Seadogs looked to double their advantage.
As Boro’s forward momentum began to slow, joint bosses Bryan Hughes and Paul Foot opted to introduce Gary Bradshaw and then Ryan Blott in the final third, but it was Farsley who began to look the more likely to register the game’s next goal.
Leon Osbourne advanced into the box and, after something of a scramble around the penalty spot, the ball broke for striker Aiden Savory but he lashed a shot wide of Simpson’s post.
Nightingale then burst into the area following a neat one-two and sent another low ball across the face of goal, but as was the case in the first half, there was nobody on hand to finish off his fine approach play, Savory just failing to apply the finishing touch.
Boro began to retreat further and further into their own half as they looked to protect their slender advantage, yet a long ball out of defence almost saw them grab a second goal, in added time.
Blott showed a fabulous touch to pluck the ball out of the air and advanced on Taylor’s goal, but his initial attempt at a lob was palmed away and the follow-up was again too close to the visiting stopper.
These misses were not to prove costly however, as the full-time whistle arrived soon afterwards and Hughes and Foot were able to breathe a big sigh of relief.