Jackson's wonder goal earns win for Scarborough Athletic at Radcliffe
After the champagne football in their two previous wins, Boro dug deep to claim a third successive victory and a fourth clean sheet in five games, after a battling display against a direct and physical Radcliffe side, managed by former Scarborough FC midfielder Lee Fowler.
James Cadman made his first competitive start for Boro in 10 months, in place of the injured Maloney, and within two minutes, Radcliffe winger Adam Dawson went off injured, thus setting the scene for a scrappy opening half as both sides struggled to control the ball on the pristine pitch.
The first real chance fell to Radcliffe on 27 minutes, but the pacy Akpa-Akpro saw his low shot towards the bottom left corner pushed round the post by keeper Ryan Whitley.
Boro’s best move of the first half came on 36 minutes when Coulson laid off to Watson, whose powerful strike was well saved by home keeper Cam Belford, while Watson also had an inswinging corner punched clear by the keeper shortly before the interval.
Thankfully the second half was much more entertaining despite the hot conditions, as both teams tried to pass the ball around.
Watson drove a free-kick straight at the keeper, before a foul on Cadman by Matty Crothers sparked a mass brawl, and Watson launched the resulting free kick to the right edge of the area, where Gooda rose to head the ball into the goalmouth, and it was cleared to Ash Jackson, who crashed a stunning left-foot volley into the bottom corner to open the scoring on 63 minutes.
Radcliffe almost equalised five minutes later, but Akpa-Akpro shot against the base of the right hand post, then Boro came close to sealing the win when Cartman cleverly flicked the ball over his head before striking a powerful shot that was well saved.
The points should have been wrapped up in stoppage time, when Coulson took the ball to the bye-line before sending a low pass into the goalmouth, where debutant Simon Heslop only needed to tap home, but somehow scooped the ball over the bar.
A rugged, battling performance with match winner Ash Jackson outstanding at left wing-back, and good displays from Ryan Watson, Will Thornton, keeper Ryan Whitley and Dylan Gogill.
As well as the three hard earned points, it was also great to see Cartman, Weledji and Heslop all come off the bench to get some game time following their recent injuries.
BORO TEAM: Whitley, Gooda, Jackson, Cadman (Heslop 71), Thornton, Cogill, Hutton (Weledji 86), Watson, Coulson, Turner, Glynn (Cartman 76)
BORO MAN OF MATCH: Ashley Jackson