Report by Stuart Fairbridge
Boro had to rely on the agility of their goalkeeper and the firepower of their two strikers as they managed to secure a somewhat fortunate three points against a plucky Pickering Town at a very chilly Queensgate.
There were two changes to the side that drew in midweek, Denny Ingram replaced Dave Kemp at left back and Bill Law came in for the unavailable Matt Plummer.
The game sprang into life with two goals in the first six minutes, Boro took the lead after four, a long ball from the back found Ryan Blott who ran unchallenged before firing a left foot shot past Adam Mitchell that went in off the far post.
Two minutes later the visitors were level, Boro conceded a free kick which was played in by Tom Reid, the Boro defence just stood and watched as Jonathan Brown sneaked in round the back to head across goal to former Boro defender Dave Hartas, who couldn't miss from a yard out.
Boro should have fell behind four minutes later, Tony Hackworth let the ball get away from him allowing Steve Baxter a clear run on goal, he dallied on the ball instead of shooting which allowed Kevin Martin to gather at his feet.
Boro were really struggling to even put two passes together and after eighteen minutes conceded a penalty when after some neat play from Pickering, Joel Ramm was tripped in the box by a retreating Jimmy Ghaichem.
Up stepped Tom Adams, fortunately for Boro and their fans Martin guessed right and made a terrific fingertip save.
Boro did respond and Joe Naylor headed over from a Law corner, and minutes later Blott almost scored his second in identical fashion to his first, this time he was thwarted by the post after his shot had easily beat Mitchell.
Boro did take the lead nine minutes before the break in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, Ghaichem travelling down the right seemed to run into Chris Gowen, the referee who had been a bit whistle happy up to this point awarded Boro a free kick and a caution to Gowen.
Law’s out swinging delivery was not cleared by the visitors defence, the ball eventually fell to Adam Lee who fired past Mitchell for his fourth Boro goal in three games.
Back came Pickering and Brown outmuscled Hackworth before firing inches over Martin's crossbar.
After the break Boro tried to slow the tempo of the game down and the only early chance of the half was a long range effort from Hartas that was easily saved by Martin.
Boro next chance came when Blott was hauled down right on the edge of the area, he picked himself up to fire an effort goalwards which brought a good save from Mitchell.
Then Boro went quiet again with misplaced passes being the order of the day, a whipped in free kick by Ramm was well gathered by Martin, and a shot by Brown was well wide, then a superb cross by Reid was headed just past the post by Baxter.
Boro finally secured all three points five minutes later with a penalty of their own, Blott brought the ball under control just inside the edge of the area, as he attempted to turn inside two defenders, he had his ankles tapped by a combination of Reid and Mike McNaughton, he brushed himself off before emphatically firing past Mitchell.
This gave Boro a bit of breathing space and Law went on a run before firing well wide from distance.
Both sides had a chance before the final whistle, Pickering substitute Darren Clough fired straight at Martin, up the other end Joe Naylor's effort was well wide.
Not a game that will live long in the memory but a welcome three points as Boro continue their unbeaten run in 2012.
Boro: Martin, Winters, Ingram, Draper, Hackworth (c), Naylor, Law, McNamara, Blott, Lee, Ghaichem, Unused Sub: Jenkinson, Hepples, Hewitt, Kemp,
Goals: Blott 4, (pen) 73, Lee 36,
Booked: Draper, Naylor, Hackworth, Ingram,
Pickering Town: Mitchell, Reid, Hodgson (Clough 71), Sturdy, McNaughton, Gowen, Ramm, Hartas (Parker 88), Baxter, Brown (Fenwick 88), Adams (c), Unused Subs: Salt, Connor,
Goal: Hartas 6,
Referee: M. McGrath,