Steve Adamson's review of Scarborough Athletic's 2021-22 season so far
Boro reporter Steve Adamson has looked back at the first half of the club's 2021-22 season in the NPL Premier Division.
After two seasons that didn’t reach a conclusion due to the Covid pandemic, there was a managerial change at the Flamingo Land Stadium in May 2021.
Former Oldham, Halifax and Hyde United boss Darren Kelly quit the club on May 17 to take up a position as Sporting Director at League Two club Newport County.
Due to the Covid interruptions he had only taken charge of 29 competitive games in his 17 months at the club (15 wins, four draws, 10 defeats).
Coach David Brown also left the club, and on May 21 Scarborough born former Manchester United midfielder and ex-England Under-21 International Jono Greening was brought in as the new manager.
Greening had no previous managerial experience, but had enjoyed a glittering playing career as a skilful midfielder, including spells at York City, United, Middlesbrough, West Brom, Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley (loan) and Tadcaster Albion.
Former York City, and Northern Ireland International goalkeeper Michael Ingham came in as assistant manager, with Boro old boys Ryan Blott and Jimmy Beadle remaining as coaches from the Kelly regime.
Two Boro greats sadly died during the summer.
Legendary former Scarborough FC manager Colin Appleton passed away, aged 85 on May 31, and six weeks later another Boro hero from the Wembley glory years of the 1970’s, much loved striker Jeff Barmby also passed away, at the age of 78 on 18 July.
The first pre-season match saw Boro score two late goals to draw 2-2 against Garforth Town, with Josh Barrett (who has missed much of the season through injury) and trialist Lewis Gibson on target.
On July 10 the annual ‘Legends game’ resulted in a 7-2 win for Scarborough Athletic Legends against the Scarborough FC Legends, with former favourites like Tommy Mooney, Bryan Hughes, Neil Campbell, Chris Tate, Paddy Miller, Kevin Martin, Adam Bolder, Denny Ingram and Scott Phillips entertaining the crowd.
The Dave Holland Trophy was retained with a 3-1 home win against Bridlington Town, Nathan Cartman scoring twice and new signing, former Whitby and Marske United midfielder Lewis Maloney adding the third.
A goalless draw at Pickering Town featured a vintage performance from captain Michael Coulson.
York City won 4-1 in a behind closed door friendly on July 24.
Then a 1-0 home loss to Tadcaster Albion when wing back Ash Jackson was the star performer, was followed by an entertaining 4-2 win against Cleethorpes Town, with Lewis Turner slamming in the opening goal after just 38 seconds. Kieran Glynn scored twice and Nathan Cartman netted the other Boro goal.
The final pre-season match was an impressive 3-0 away success against National League North side Bradford Park Avenue, when Nathan Cartman (penalty), Kieran Weledji and James Cadman found the net, but the big news was the clean sheet for keeper Ryan Whitley, who returned to Boro on loan from York City.
A number of young trialists were given run outs in the pre-season games, including keeper Vaughan Gemeiner, midfielders Nick Hutton, Sam Barker and Charlie Jebson-King and strikers Lewis Gibson and Rhys Plater, but most had gone by the time of the opening NPL match at Basford United on August 14.
Bailey Gooda was man of the match in a 0-0 draw at Basford, and the next league game, at home to Ashton United three days later was also drawn, as Ryan Watson blasted home from the penalty spot, but Ashton fought back to draw 1-1.
The next match saw Boro leave the field to a standing ovation after a thrilling 2-0 home win against Warrington Town, with Ryan Watson (penalty) and Kieran Glynn on target.
Two goals in quick succession, from centre-back Will Thornton and Michael Coulson, earned a 2-0 win at Gainsborough Trinity.
Then Boro secured a fourth clean sheet in five games, when Ash Jackson lashed in a stunning left foot volley to seal a 1-0 win at Radcliffe on August 28, but the unbeaten start to the season ended two days later when full timers South Shields were good value for a 2-0 win at the FLS watched by 1,824 fans.
BORO PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Bailey Gooda
A dismal 2-0 home defeat to Witton Albion saw Boro crash out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.
With on-loan keeper Whitley unavailable, debutant Nathan Harker played in goal, but his errors contributed to both goals, then another disappointing performance resulted in a 4-2 home loss to a very good Bamber Bridge side, with Lewis Turner and James Cadman notching the consolation goals, but captain Michael Coulson going off injured after just ten minutes.
Worse was to follow three days later, when struggling Stalybridge Celtic, who had lost seven of their nine games, romped to a 3-0 win at the FLS to consign Boro to a fourth successive home defeat.
After this game, midfielder Lewis Turner left the club to join National League North club Farsley Celtic.
On September 25,Boro travelled to bottom of the table Grantham Town, and ended the four-game losing run with a hard fought 2-1 success as Ryan Watson(penalty) and Nathan Cartman found the net.
But this was followed by a thumping 6-0 midweek defeat at FC United of Manchester.
Included in the side was returning striker Jake Day, who had been signed from Guiseley, having previously played briefly for Boro in season 2016-27.
BORO PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Ash Jackson
Nathan Cartman snatched a last-gasp equaliser, and keeper Ryan Whitley was man of the match in a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Mickleover, but next came a superb 1-0 win at Stafford Rangers, courtesy of another Nathan Cartman strike.
But this was followed by a 3-0 trouncing at local rivals Whitby Town, in which new signing, former Guisborough Town attacking midfielder Brad Plant made his Boro debut from the bench, but Dylan Cogill was sent off on the stroke of half time.
The FA Cup defeat by Witton Albion was avenged, with a 3-2 home win against them in the league, with Ash Jackson, man of the match Lewis Maloney and Michael Coulson on target.
New signing Luca Colville, who had recent experience with Morton in the Scottish Championship, made his debut, and scored both Boro goals in a 3-2 defeat at Hyde United on October 23.
The following Saturday came the low point of the season so far, as Boro crashed out of the FA Trophy after a 4-0 thrashing by Liversedge from NPL East, with a section of the travelling support calling for the manager to resign at the final whistle.
BORO PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Kieran Glynn
Boro put that Trophy setback behind them, with a battling win against Lancaster City at the FLS, as a Nathan Cartman lob and a Bailey Gooda header sealed a 2-0 win.
Seven days later a stunning second half performance saw 10-man Boro turn on the style to rout Nantwich Town 3-0 despite the loss of Nathan Cartman, who was red carded 10 minutes before the interval.
Jake Day, Ryan Watson, direct from a free kick, and Luca Colville were the marksmen, but star player was keeper Ryan Whitley who was in great form, making a number of top saves, including a penalty save late in the game.
Atherton Collieries visited the FLS on 23 November, and the game was settled by two penalties, one for each team.
Atherton scored from the spot in the 16th minute, but Boro’s last minute spot-kick was blasted against the base of the left-hand by Ryan Watson.
But the month ended on a high with a 6-2 win at Redcar Town in the North Riding Senior Cup. Nathan Cartman scored a hat-trick, one from the spot, with Luca Colville, Brad Plant and Jake Day also finding the net.
Young goalkeeper Ben Chamberlain made his senior debut, but it proved to be Cartman’s last game for Boro, as he left to join Yorkshire Amateur as a player-coach soon after.
BORO PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Ryan Whitley
Ryan Watson took the captains armband in the continued absence through injury of Michael Coulson and the departure of replacement skipper Nathan Cartman, as big spending Buxton handed out a 5-1 midweek drubbing, with Luca Colville netting the consolation goal.
That win saw Buxton overtake Bamber Bridge at the top of the League, and just four days later Boro travelled to a Bridge.
The game only went ahead after a late pitch inspection after days of heavy rain, but despite terrible conditions Boro gave a battling performance to fully deserve a stunning 2-0 win with second half strikes from the in-form Luca Colville and then an own goal from Isaac Sinclair.
On December 18 Boro faced another tricky game at Warrington, lying fifth in the table, and unbeaten in 12 games, but Greening’s side played their best football of the season, to totally outplay the home side, with well-taken goals from Jake Day and Lewis Maloney earning the points.
A last-gasp free-kick from Maloney earned Boro a share of the spoils in their Boxing Day game at home to Morpeth Town.
In a scrappy game played in front of a bumper 1,282 crowd, Luca Colville was once again impressive for the home side but Kieran Glynn was man of the match for the hosts, who had more than enough chances to win the game but had to settle for a share of the spoils.
BORO PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Luca Colville