Lewis Maloney's late cracker earns festive home draw for Scarborough Athletic against Morpeth Town
A stunning last gasp equaliser from Lewis Maloney earned battling Boro a point from a feisty tussle with Morpeth at the Flamingo Land Stadium.
Fielding an unchanged team for the third successive match, Boro struggled to create many chances in a gritty first half that was spoiled by a fussy referee who seemed to think almost every challenge merited a free kick, writes Steve Adamson.
Will Thornton showed great footwork to dribble the ball out of defence to foil an early Morpeth attack, while Boro’s best effort of the first half saw visiting keeper Dan Lowson dive low to his right to keep out a goal-bound shot from Ryan Watson, then Luca Colville, who had another excellent game, won possession and played the ball out to Ash Jackson on the left, and he sent over a cross that as well held by the keeper.
A few rash challenges and mistimed passes spoiled the flow of the game, and a succession of free kicks, not always merited, added to the frustrations of the bumper 1,282 crowd.
Colville sent a long-range shot wide of the right-hand post, then a Watson free-kick was met by Jake Day, whose back-header flashed wide of the upright.
Morpeth opened the scoring on 41 minutes when striker Andrew Johnson claimed his 11th goal of the season as he headed home following a long throw from the left by Chris Reid.
Shortly before the interval Morpeth almost added to their lead, as Jack Foalle glanced a header wide from a Ben Ramsey cross.
Boro started the second half on the front foot, with Day hooking a shot wide and Colville having an effort beaten away by the keeper.
Kieran Glynn sent a precise through ball to Day, but Michael Turner got in a terrific tackle just as Day was about to shoot, then Colville rose to head narrowly over following a Maloney cross.
On 59 minutes Boro skipper Ryan Watson had a thumping half-volley from just outside the area, brilliantly tipped over by keeper Lowson
In rare Morpeth attacks, Johnson fired narrowly wide and Foalle shot straight at Ryan Whitley, then on 77 minutes a Johnson shot was saved by the legs of Whitley at the near post - the only save of note the Boro keeper had to make all game.
Midfield playmaker Kieran Glynn went in a surging run past three defenders before setting up James Cadman, who lofted his shot over the bar.
With time running out, Boro began to pile on the pressure, and Brad Plant (twice), Maloney and Watson all had shots blocked by defenders, while Bailey Gooda headed straight at the keeper.
Deep into injury-time Brad Plant cut inside from the left touchline, but was fouled just outside the area. Maloney lined up the free-kick, and even keeper Whitley went forward into the crowded goalmouth, but Maloney sublimely curled the free-kick over everyone, with the ball nestling just inside the far post for a sensational last-gasp equaliser.
BORO: Whitley, Weledji, Jackson, Heslop (Cadman 74), Thornton (Cogill 66), Gooda, Maloney, Watson, Day (Plant 74), Colville, Glynn
MAN OF THE MATCH: Kieran Glynn.