Luntley leads Town to crushing win

Ben Luntley struck a fine treble for Town
Ben Luntley struck a fine treble for Town

Ben Luntley hit a hat-trick as newly-promoted Scarborough Town settled down to life in the Premier Division of the Humber Premier League in a game which had been moved from Westella’s normal venue onto the 3G surface at Bishop Burton College.

Town forced two early corners and a Josh Clayton header went narrowly off target. A flowing move then ended with a shot from Neil Thomas being blocked, but after 12 minutes Jamie Bradshaw outsmarted the defence only to be halted by a crude foul. Jamie Patterson stepped up to place the ball neatly into the net from the 12-yard spot. Gary Thomas set up a chance for brother Neil but the ball went narrowly over the bar in the Town striker’s last action before injury forced his substitution.

Patterson threaded a superb ball through to Gary Thomas but a defender made a last-ditch saving tackle, then Town earned a free kick 25 yards out which Neil Fryirs hit sweetly but the ball took a deflection to go just wide. Town’s corner count was rising steadily, and from one Bradshaw inswinger Clayton was unlucky to see his header strike the woodwork.

Westella had not shown much attacking intent, but a free kick was planted into the Town box and Aaron McIver headed just wide. At the other end Clayton went away down the right but his effort was blocked by the last defender.

Five minutes into the second half Town keeper Rob Clark was called into action for the first time, saving confidently after hesitation in the away defence, but on 53 minutes Ben Luntley ran on to a through ball and lifted the ball accurately over the head of keeper Brad Alcock to put Town 2-0 ahead. Gary Thomas came close after winning the ball in midfield and combining with Luntley and Bradshaw but shot just too high, however Thomas got on the scoresheet after 59 minutes by netting from ten yards after intense Town pressure.

Clark maintained his clean sheet with a good block from close range, but Bradshaw nearly added to Town’s tally when he played on after being fouled and pulled the ball narrowly wide courtesy of a deflection. Bradshaw then cut in from the left and was foiled by a marvellous flying save from Alcock, and Patterson and Josh Hakings both headed powerfully over the bar following Town corners.

Ricky Nock was playing with his customary tenacity and won the ball in midfield, combining with Jon Manson to set up a chance for Luntley which the keeper blocked at the near post, then Manson had a chance but just failed to connect in front of goal.

On 73 minutes Bradshaw made another trademark run, cutting in from the left and unleashing a tremendous drive which flew past the helpless keeper to make it 4-0, but 2 minutes later Westella pulled one back when Dean Larvin smashed in a free kick from 20 yards.

Nock rampaged forwards once more, exchanging passes with Manson and skipping between two defenders to hit a shot which went narrowly too high, then Fryirs hit a scorcher which was met by a flying full-length save from Alcock. On 84 minutes Town notched number five, when Taylor curled the ball down the touchline into the path of Manson who unselfishly set up Luntley to score from ten yards, then it was Luntley again who pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box to smack the ball into the net to cap a great hat-trick. There was still time for Bradshaw to be thwarted from close range, but this was an excellent win for Town who were not firing on all cylinders but had too much pace and skill for their opponents.

Town: Clark, Nock, Hakings, Pickles (Gill 71), Smart, Patterson, Clayton (Manson 60), G Thomas, Luntley, N Thomas (Fryirs 21), Bradshaw.