The Scarborough News
SLUMP GOES ON AT RADCLIFFE
It is amazing how football can change in a matter of minutes.
Scarborough Athletic switched seamlessly from cruising to their first threepoint haul since August to an absolute shambles in just 15 minutes.
The bottom clearly dropped out of Boro’s game when Matty Davies’ wonder free-kick levelled the scores for Radcliffe Borough.
And there was only one outcome from then on in, in fact Boro were lucky to escape with just a 2-1 defeat.
It is still early days in the season, but Boro swiftly need to find the backbone to see games out and pick up points or their lofty ambitions of promotion will soon be nothing but a pipe dream.
Bosses Paul Foot and Bryan Hughes opted for change in a bid to secure a vital victory, with new faces Jody Barford and Fernando Moke playing in goal and on the wing respectively.
Boro looked lively in attack after a scrappy start to the game, and following some intensive probing they finally edged themselves ahead.
Ryan Blott fed Steve Mallory in the box and the midfielder felt the force of a rash challenge, leaving referee Duncan Street with no option but to point at the spot.
Nathan Peat snatched the ball off striker Tom Corner and duly crashed the ball beyond a helpless Chris Cheetham.
Boro continued to press and by the break they could have comfortably won the fixture.
New boy Moke had a pair of great chances, but he was twice denied by Cheetham, while Blott, who was getting in some useful positions, headed narrowly over the Radcliffe bar.
The mood was good at the break, with Boro dominating and Radcliffe not even being given a sniff of Barford’s goal.
There was no turning of the tide when the second half began. Corner was unlucky not to get a toe on the most inviting of balls from the continually raiding Mallory.
But then, with 20 minutes of the new half played, disaster struck.
There had been no cracks in the Boro game until Davies rifled home a glorious freekick from distance, but after that goal the visitors crumbled.
In quick succession both Joel Dixon and Caine Winfarrah made blocks on the line, then Barford made a good save to deny Steve Foster.
But Radcliffe were soon given the easiest of paths to victory when Boro closed down completely in defence.
Athletic fluffed their opportunities to clear a routine corner from the right and Rick Smith was allowed enough space and time to pick out the bottom corner with a weak header.
Despite falling apart, Boro still had the one final chance to snatch something from the game when the ball broke to Moke just six yards from goal.
With keeper Cheetham already grounded, all Moke had to do was roll the ball home, but he opted for power and sent it sailing over the goal and into a pond behind the stand.
This was all Boro could muster in the final minutes, there may have been plenty of application, but they lacked the finesse required to pierce a very pedestrian home backline.