Second-half burst boosts Boro

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Scarborough Athletic completed a professional job on the road at Heanor to keep their title ambitions on track.

After a goalless first half, Boro turned it up a gear, with some composed attacking play wrapping up a 3-0 win.

Goals looked at a premium before the break, as a lively Heanor side set out to close down their high-flying rivals.

There was more of an attacking feel to Boro’s line-up though, as boss Rudy Funk added James Bennett in place of Matty Plummer, with Paddy Miller dropping in at left-back.

Boro’s first-half display seemed flat on the vast Heanor pitch, though the visitors did have the best of the chances.

Ryan Blott whipped a shot across the face of goal, but the ball rolled away to safety, then Bennett drove into the side-netting after a flowing move.

Athletic were being restricted to speculative efforts, as the Heanor back-line, marshalled brilliantly by the goliath-like figure of Dwayne Wiley, mopped up most of the threat.

In fact, after Louis Horne’s header was neatly pushed away by Oliver Pannell, Heanor possibly had the better of the closing exchanges.

Jason Foster’s wicked strike was coaxed away by Boro keeper Reid, then Wiley crashed a header over the bar with the visiting stopper well beaten.

Heanor were still on their toes though as Pannell kept out a Tony Hackworth shot in the final minutes of the half.

After something of a damp squib in the first half, the second was blown open in the opening few minutes.

The solidity of Heanor’s defence evaporated and Blott took full advantage, rolling home his 32nd league goal of the season after a comical mix-up between Pannell and his defender Daniel Fields.

There was plenty more to come from Boro as Heanor began to creak at the back.

Horne almost doubled the lead when his glancing header was tipped away, though Heanor could have levelled things up, with Lee Stevenson catching a drive from distance beautifully, but it sailed just past the angle of post and bar.

Boro introduced Plummer for Robbie Hawkes and the sub made an immediate impact, bundling the ball into the path of Pete Davidson, who produced a moment of sheer quality.

The midfielder wriggled into the box and delivered a fine ball to the back post where Bennett had time and space to squeeze the ball home.

The impressive Wiley showed his attacking frailties as Heanor tried to launch a comeback, controlling the ball well on the edge of the box, but then slicing woefully wide.

It was Boro who sealed the victory with 11 minutes remaining, Plummer completing a solid cameo with a deserved goal.

Bennett’s corner from the left bounced dangerously across the box before being forced home by what seemed like Plummer’s groin.

Funk withdrew Jimmy Beadle from the midfield to bring on the pacy David Brown, but the game was already comfortably won.

The battle petered out, as Boro cooled off their attacking threat, matching the approaching chill of what had been a pleasant March afternoon.