Most Boro fans may want to forgot the first few months of the 2019-20 season, but since Darren Kelly took over as manager in October Scarborough Athletic have enjoyed a resurgence, especially at the Flamingo Land Stadium.
Chris Dawson celebrates the late winner for Boro at MatlockChris Dawson celebrates the late winner for Boro at Matlock
Chris Dawson celebrates the late winner for Boro at Matlock


John Deacey, who had taken over as Boro boss in the latter stages of the previous season, was thankful for a last-gasp Jack Johnson leveller in Athletic’s first BetVictor Northern Premier game of the season.

New signing Kian Spence and midfielder Ryan Watson linked up well to set up Johnson’s late equaliser against Buxton in the first of numerous home draws in the opening weeks of the campaign.

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Boro’s first away league game of the season was one to forget, as they were hammered 5-1 at Stalybridge Celtic.

The hosts surged into a two-goal lead in the first half, and although midfielder Chris Dawson, who impressed in the early stages of the season, pulled a goal back before the interval, Celtic banged in another three to send the visitors packing.

Boro then pulled off what would be one of their best results of the season, claiming a 1-0 success on the road at FC United of Manchester.

Jordan Deacey, son of manager John, scored the crucial goal for Athletic, who had made several changes to the team after the hammering at Stalybridge, with summer signings Chris Howarth and Harry Coates coming into defence and Ryan Watson and Luke Lofts also stepping in.

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James Walshaw missed an early chance to open the scoring from the spot, but Jordan Deacey was on target on 26 minutes, which was enough to seal the three points at a side who for the rest of the season were one of the main promotion challengers.

Boro then played out a dour goalless draw with South Shields on Bank Holiday Monday in humid conditions in front of 1,311 fans, although the visitors survived a strong penalty shout for a handball in the closing moments.

John Deacey’s team continued their fine defensive form with another clean sheet at home to Witton in the final game of August, unfortunately Boro’s lack of a cutting edge in front of goal once again saw them play out a goalless draw.


Boro then slipped to a 2-0 loss at derby rivals Whitby Town at the Turnbull Ground through goals from Kieran Weledji and Bradley Fewster, adding to the pressure on boss John Deacey.

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An ex-Whitby player then added to Deacey’s frustrations in the next game for Scarborough.

Former Blues ace Matty Waters pounced in the closing moments of Marske United’s FA Cup first qualifying round clash at Boro, after Michael Coulson had given the hosts the lead in a game they should have had wrapped up before the last-gasp leveller.

In the replay a few days later, Boro started as they had left off and conceded a goal to Marske after only two minutes and it looked like the hosts could be heading to a shock defeat at the hands of the BetVictor North West Division side.

Athletic refused to buckle and Walshaw netted to peg back Marske, defender Isaac Assenso heading in a deserved winner on 80 minutes to earn his side £4,500 prize money and a trip to National League North side Southport in the next round.

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Boro’s rollercoaster season continued with a bizarre game at Nantwich in the league.

The visitors raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Lofts and Walshaw in the opening 20 minutes and the points seemed to be heading back to the coast.

Boro still led 2-0 after 76 minutes, but then spectacularly collapsed, Nantwich scoring three goals in five minutes to leave Athletic to travel home pointless.

The FA Cup dream was halted in its tracks in the next game, Boro losing out 5-2 at Southport despite taking the lead through Walshaw, skipper Michael Coulson hitting a late consolation from the spot.

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Boro fans’ frustrations increased as the next two league encounters at home ended in yet more draws.

The first of these stalemates saw Athletic held at home 1-1 by Warrington, midfielder Dawson levelling with a cracking long-range effort shortly after Scott Sephton opened the scoring.


Boro’s midweek game at home to Basford United also ended in a 1-1 draw.

Walshaw put Boro ahead on 24 minutes and the hosts should have put the game beyond United before they ended up earning a point through Nat Watson 19 minutes from time.

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Scarborough’s away struggles continued with a 1-0 loss in a hard-fought clash at Mickleover Sports.

Boro bounced back in the next game though, Dawson once again starring as he scored a last-gasp winner in a 2-1 midweek success on the road at former boss Steve Kittrick’s Matlock Town.

Loanee Paul Walker opened the scoring for the visitors and although Luke Tinsley brought the scores level, Dawson popped up to snatch a crucial win.

Boro were then held to yet another 1-1 home draw, their sixth in a row, this time by Stafford, the visitors’ keeper Lewis King putting in an astonishing display to keep his side in the game with a string of cracking saves.

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Coulson put Boro ahead in the first half, but King then denied the hosts many times before Brad Grayson earned Rangers a share of the spoils.

Athletic finally ended their home hoodoo with a 1-0 win against Hyde in midweek, an in-form Dawson scoring after only four minutes to secure the crucial victory.

Boro looked to be on the road to recovery in the league when they claimed another late win in their next match.

This time Ryan Watson was the hero, his stunning long-range strike on 92 minutes earning a 2-1 win at Bamber Bridge.

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Skipper Michael Coulson put Boro in front with a fourth-minute penalty only for Alistair Waddecar to equalise.

Boro then came back down to earth with a bump as they ended October with a 3-2 loss at Atherton Collieries in the FA Trophy first qualifying round, James Walshaw and Luke Lofts scoring for the visitors.