Boss John Deacey left out skipper Coulson and striker Walshaw for the trip to Grantham Town and when new loan signing Connor Thomson put Boro in front on seven minutes the switch looked to be paying off.
Unfortunately the home side struck twice in the first half to secure a 2-1 win.
Athletic suffered a third successive loss in a 3-1 defeat at Radcliffe, Walshaw notching the consolation goal.
Boro’s fine home record was also dented in their next game, as they suffered a 1-0 home loss to promotion-chasers Lancaster City thanks to Robert Wilson’s 59th-minute goal despite the hosts creating numerous chances as another away goalkeeper, this time Sam Ashton, kept them at bay.
The campaign slumped to a new low as they were thrashed 5-1 at home by Dunston, from the division below, in the Integro League Cup despite having gone ahead through Walshaw.
Athletic’s miserable run of form continued as they fell to a 3-1 league defeat on the road at Witton, adding to the pressure on boss John Deacey as they succumbed to their sixth defeat on the spin, Walshaw on target again for Boro.
John Deacey left the club by mutual consent 24 hours after this defeat to Witton, with former Hyde United boss Darren Kelly brought in a day later as the new Boro boss.
Athletic’s next match saw Kelly watch from the Flamingo Land Stadium stands as Dave Merris took charge of a NRCFA Senior Cup 7-0 home win against plucky North Riding League outfit Staithes Athletic, captain Michael Coulson and James Walshaw impressing the new man in charge with a hat-trick apiece, and loanee Connor Thomson also on the scoresheet.
Kelly’s first match in charge could not have been better scripted, as derby rivals Whitby Town were the visitors.
Goals either side of half-time from Walshaw and Thomson steered the hosts to a 2-1 win in front of a 1,358 crowd, the majority of who headed home after a chilly afternoon full of optimism after sending the Blues packing.
The feelgood factor continued as Boro grabbed a dramatic 3-2 win at Gainsborough.
Joe Maguire headed Trinity in front, Walshaw levelling before ex-Athletic man Declan Bacon restored the hosts’ lead.
Defender Isaac Assenso looked like he had earned Boro a point on 76 minutes, but Connor Thomson popped up to net a stoppage-time winner.
A fourth successive win followed a week later as Boro beat visitors Mickleover 4-1 thanks to goals from Walshaw (2), Coulson and Thomson.
Athletic came back down to earth with a jolt in their next Saturday game, experiencing a thumping 5-0 loss at Buxton, Kelly’s first defeat since taking over.
Boro bounced back with a 1-0 home win against Morpeth on Boxing Day, Walshaw on target again for the hosts.
Scarborough started the year with an unlucky 2-1 loss at leaders South Shields, an injury-time penalty handing the win to the pacesetters after Michael Coulson had put Boro in front on 12 minutes.
Jason Gilchrist equalised five minutes into the second half and scored the winner in stoppage-time when Ryan Watson was adjudged to have felled Gilchrist in the area.
In their first home game of 2020, Boro battled back to earn a 1-1 draw against Stalybridge, Ryan Watson scoring the leveller on 68 minutes.
Another home 1-1 draw followed a week later, this time Watson putting Boro ahead against Nantwich, only for the visitors to level through Joe Mwasile.
Seven days later Boro completed the league double over former boss Steve Kittrick as his Matlock side lost out 2-1 at the Flamingo Land Stadium.
Josh Barrett and Walshaw fired the home side into a 2-0 half-time lead, former Boro ace Nathan Valentine pulling a goal back for Town seven minutes into the second period.
Athletic then slumped to a 1-0 away loss against struggling Stafford Rangers.
The home form of Boro got them back on track immediately, as they won 3-1 at home to 10-man Ashton United.
Joe Wilson’s 11th-minute penalty put United in front, but Michael Coulson equalised six minutes later.
Liam Tomsett’s red card for a strong challenge early in the second half boosted Boro’s chances, as Coulson and Ryan Watson scored to complete their revival and a 3-1 win in the first game of February.
A stunning 35-yard strike from midfielder Kieran Glynn, on loan from Salford City, earned Athletic a 1-0 win at manager Darren Kelly’s former club Hyde United.
Scarborough continued their fine form with a 3-0 win against Redcar Athletic in the NRCFA Senior Cup, James Walshaw scoring twice, and Ryan Watson continuing his fine scoring form.
Walshaw was the main man in the next league game also, smashing in a hat-trick in their 5-0 home triumph against Bamber Bridge.
A Coulson penalty and another long-range Watson effort wrapped up the win.
Despite dominating the next league game, on the road at Warrington, Boro lost out 2-0 thanks to a string of superb saves from keeper Bobby Jones, on loan from Wiagn.
A Walshaw brace saw Boro end February with a 3-1 home league win against Radcliffe, defender Harry Spratt also notching for the home side.
Scarborough’s shocking away form continued with a 2-0 loss at Ashton the following Saturday.
In what turned out to be the final league game of the season, Boro grafted for a 1-0 success at Basford United, Walshaw again on target.
There looks set to be at least one more match remaining for Boro though, as the North Riding FA competitions look set to be completed, with holders Boro set to travel to Marske United in the semi-finals of the Senior Cup once the current coronavirus pandemic allows sport to recommence safely.