Scarborough Athletic grab late win at Atherton to stretch unbeaten NPL Premier Division run to 13 games

Another battling performance secured Boro three more points at Atherton to reinforce their NPL Premier Division promotion charge.

Jake Day scored the late winner for Boro at Atherton
Jake Day scored the late winner for Boro at Atherton

A scrappy first half on a bumpy, heavily sanded pitch, was followed by a much more entertaining second period, which featured three well-worked goals.

There were debuts for three 19-year-olds, with striker Will Jarvis, on loan from Hull City lining up for Boro, while Atherton included full-back Sky Sinclair, on loan from Blackpool, and attacking midfielder Anton Smith from Salford City, writes Steve Adamson.

Also in the Atherton side was winger Elliott Rokka, back with the club after a spell at Colne.

Atherton's Aaron Smith had a shot well saved by Ryan Whitley on eight minutes, and Boro's first goal attempt saw Jarvis curl a shot narrowly over on 24 minutes.

Play was mainly confined to midfield, and the only corner of the first half fell to Boro on the half-hour, but Ryan Watson's cross into the box was headed clear.

Soon after, Ash Jackson fired a half-volley just wide of the right-hand post, then shortly before the interval a Watson free-kick was punched off the head of Bailey Gooda by home keeper Danny Taberner.

Fortunately the second half was far more eventful. Atherton skipper Gaz Peet shot wide from a free-kick, then Kieran Glynn did likewise for Boro.

On 53 minutes Watson played a ball into the Atherton box, it was headed out by a defender towards Brad Plant, who sent a first time volley flashing past the post.

Atherton then enjoyed a good spell, with Kieran Weledji twice, and Jackson heading dangerous crosses clear and Gooda and Will Thornton both made strong tackles to halt home attacks.

Boro absorbed the pressure, and then went in front on 70 minutes when Brad Plant sent a great cross-field pass out to debutant Jarvis on the left, and he cut in, raced past a defender, and fired a low shot into the far corner.

With "flair" players Luca Colville and Glynn now in full flow, Boro almost added another goal, as Jake Day flicked on to Watson, who pulled the ball across the area, for the energetic Weledji to fire in a powerful shot that was tipped over the bar by diving keeper Taberner.

Atherton drew level on 76 minutes, when Marcus Cusani laid off to Jack Lenehan, and his cross was headed home in style by Rokka.

Colville laid off to Jackson, whose goal-bound half-volley was palmed over the bar by Taberner, and Plant had a shot saved, before Boro went 2-1 up on 82 minutes, when Glynn battled for the ball in midfield, skipped past two defenders and passed to Colville, who fired in a shot that was saved by the keeper, but Day was on hand to slam home the rebound.

Colville then sent a through-ball to Jarvis, but his shot was easily saved by Taberner, and Day, who looked lively after coming on from the bench, raced past two defenders before having his shot blocked.

Near the end, both Jarvis and Colville fired over, as Boro finished the game well on top, as they extended their unbeaten run to 14 games, including 13 in the league.

BORO: Whitley, Weledji, Jackson, Watson, Thornton, Gooda, Wilson (Day 58), Plant (Coulson 81), Colville, Glynn, Jarvis (Cadman 88)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Kieran Weledji.

ATTENDANCE: 429.