Will Thornton heads in late leveller for Scarborough Athletic at Chester

Will Thornton points to his head as he celebrates his injury-time leveller at Chester with his Boro teammates. PHOTOS BY ZACH FORSTERWill Thornton points to his head as he celebrates his injury-time leveller at Chester with his Boro teammates. PHOTOS BY ZACH FORSTER
Will Thornton points to his head as he celebrates his injury-time leveller at Chester with his Boro teammates. PHOTOS BY ZACH FORSTER
A dramatic finale saw battling Boro snatch a deserved last-gasp 2-2 draw from a thrilling tussle with play-off rivals Chester, with every player putting in a great shift on a wet afternoon at the Deva Stadium.

After last week’s disappointing performance against Gloucester, this was much better from Boro, who despite making a sluggish start, more than matched the home side, and contributed to a terrific game between two very good footballing teams on a slick surface, writes Steve Adamson.

Early on, Lewis Earl burst forward for Chester but was halted by a superb sliding tackle from Ryan Watson, then a cross from Alex Brown fell at the feet of Anthony Dudley who sliced his shot.

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But the home side went ahead on 14 minutes when a right-wing corner from the impressive Declan Weeks was smashed into the net by Kurt Willoughby, for his 26th goal of the season.

Boro were on the back foot, and Shrewsbury loanee Charlie Caton glanced his header wide from a Kieran Coates cross, while Bailey Gooda, Will Thornton and Ryan Qualter all won important headers at the back and Gooda blocked a strike from Dudley.

Boro then began to fight back, and Lewis Maloney blazed a shot over, then Maloney sent over a free-kick, Watson headed on towards Michael Coulson, who was closed down as he was about to shoot.

A Watson shot was blocked by Adam Thomas, and shortly before the interval, a cross from Luca Colville was headed goalwards by Gooda, but Alex Kenyan cleared off the line with the keeper beaten.

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A swollen foot led to Colville being replaced by Jake Charles at the interval, and he injected some pace into the Boro attack.

Kieran Weledji made it 1-1 for the visitors at their play-off rivals last weekend.Kieran Weledji made it 1-1 for the visitors at their play-off rivals last weekend.
Kieran Weledji made it 1-1 for the visitors at their play-off rivals last weekend.

On 51 minutes a long throw from Ash Jackson was headed out towards Will Thornton, who unleashed a fierce left-foot volley that was superbly tipped round the post by keeper Harry Tyrer.

Boro keeper Joe Cracknell saved with his legs to deny Thomas, then Gooda flung his body to the ground to block a low shot from Caton on the goal-line, and Willoughby fired a 25-yard free-kick over.

Coulson laid off to Watson, whose shot was blocked by Kenyan, while at the other end, Willoughby dinked a shot wide.

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It was a high-quality, action-packed game, and Boro drew level with a superb goal, when Alex Wiles, who had a terrific game, won possession and passed to Kieran Weledji on the right of the area, and he raced past his marker and struck his shot into the bottom left corner.

Luca Colville at full stretch during the 2-2 draw at Chester for the Seadogs.Luca Colville at full stretch during the 2-2 draw at Chester for the Seadogs.
Luca Colville at full stretch during the 2-2 draw at Chester for the Seadogs.

Weeks thundered a free kick over the Boro bar, before the home side restored their lead four minutes from time, when Darren Stephenson cut in from the left and passed into the area for Caton to fire home.

Boro deserved something from the game, and into stoppage time, Jackson launched a long throw from the right into a crowded goalmouth, a scramble developed, Will Thornton headed on, and the ball dropped inside the far post, sparking wild celebrations amongst the vocal band of travelling supporters.

Then with just seconds left to play, Simon Heslop sent a free-kick forward towards Coulson, who was barged in the back by a defender, but instead of pointing to the penalty spot, the referee blew the final whistle, as the hugely entertaining game ended all square between the play-off rivals.

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CHESTER - Tyrer, Brown, Weeks, Kenyan, Dudley (Stephenson 78), Thomas (Murray 69), Williams, Coates, Willoughby, Earl, Cayton.

Boro celebrate the late levellerBoro celebrate the late leveller
Boro celebrate the late leveller

BORO - Cracknell, Weledji, Jackson, Qualter, Thornton, Gooda (Greenfield 67), Coulson, Maloney, Wiles, Watson (Heslop 72), Colville (Charles 46)

REFEREE - Dale Baines

GOALS - CHESTER - Kurt Willoughby 14, Charlie Cayton 86

BORO - Kieran Weledji 76, Will Thornton 90

YELLOW CARD - BORO - Bailey Gooda, Lewis Maloney

BORO MAN OF MATCH - Bailey Gooda

ATTENDANCE - 2,900 (251 away)