Gedling Town 1 v Scarborough Athletic 2
Brian France made only one change to his winning side against Yorkshire Amateur, with Blott suspended and Tate and Medcalf both injured the Boro boss was in a little bit of a pickle for strikers. Griffin was given the green light to join Hogg up front, leaving one space in midfield that Bowsley filled for his first competitive start for Boro. France again favouring the attacking 3-5-2 formation, making an early statement that he had come here for a game, not damage limitation.
Gedling started strongly trying to stamp their authority on the game, they had nothing else in mind than all three points. The home side clearly well versed in passing had the best of the early possession, Boro not lacking enthusiasm were clearly focused and were chasing down everything. Boro were initially limited to route one, Hogg chasing down the first of many balls was well stewarded out by the Gedling back line. The first alarm bells rang for Boro as Soar headed in space from a corner, not able to find enough direction to trouble the keeper. Gedling were maintaining a very high defensive line, which allowed Boro's first clear chance of the day, a looping ball put Hogg in on goal, just a moment's hesitation allowed Gedling keeper Spring to make a tackle and send the ball safe.
The home side then had long spells of pressure, keeping Boro mostly in their own half. A lot of their attacking focus was down the left keeping Carl Wood on his toes who didn't put a foot wrong not mistiming a tackle. The pressure finally resulted in a chance, Gedling Captain Whitehead struck from the edge of the area just wide of the left hand post. Shortly after Millns found his way through the Boro defense on the edge of the area drawing out Bramley not sure to stay or go leaving himself in no mans land, Boro let off the hook as the cross failed to find a Gedling shirt with an empty net on offer.
Scarborough broke the deadlock, Hogg chasing down a ball over the top, Gedling left back Magee and keeper Spring lacking communication allowing Hogg to get a toe on the ball. The ball rebounded from the three gifting a prowling Scott Phillips an empty net who didn't fail to put the ball away. Scarborough had another chance to double the lead, hitting again on the break, Phillips setting Hogg free on goal, who shot a too little early having more time than he thought, Spring comfortably gathering up the shot. Boro kept the lead at the break, it would need a dogged battling performance in the second half to keep this lead and be the first team this year to take three points from Gedling.
After some choice post watershed words from Gedling manager Lee Wilson, shaking most of the Riverside Stadium the home side came out looking to reverse the current score line. Jeffries found himself almost in on goal, Waltham earning his money with a precision tackle keeping the pressing home side at bay. Scarborough soaking up the pressure and hitting well on the break, Griffin picking the ball up on the half way line with space to run into and powered into the box his resulting cross shot just wide of the post. It wouldn't be long before Gedling would be knocking on the door again getting into some useful attacking positions, Massingham getting a shot blocked on the edge of the 6 yard box. Carl Wood again showing a more than competent defensive display as Gedling worked an overlap, Boro looking in trouble, Wood made up a lot of ground to steal the ball from Sweeney. The home side were desperately unlucky not to level, sub Westcarr forcing a stretched save from Bramley, Jeffries was offered an open goal but opted for power the ball rising too quickly and came back off the bar. Bramley again on tip top form keeping the visitors heads above water, Millns header forcing a top class save low to his right.
The pressing Gedling were caught again on the break, this time it was Hogg's chance to run at the back line, his shot was blocked by Spring, and Hepples couldn't convert the rebound, an unmarked Griffin looking disgruntled at the back post. Evans replaced a tired looking Bowsley whose distribution was well appreciated, France now looking to shut up shop now with 4 at the back. Boro would finally catch the league leaders out Griffin put Phillips through who did well to hold off a couple of defenders to put the ball past Spring in the bottom left hand corner, surely sealing the lead one minute from time. Moments later Boro let their guard down feeling like it was job done, Matt Millns nodding the ball home into the bottom left corner on the stroke of time, after a few nervy moments would only prove to be a consolation.
Scarborough faced a stern challenge and took all three points, with a combination of rugged defending, a little bit of luck and some astute counter attacking. The Boro defence stood firm and did exceptionally well to keep out the leagues top scorers, who were not unaccustomed to putting 4 or more past their opponents. Carl Wood put in some important tackles that surely made a difference on the day, Scott Phillips with another good performance rounded with a brace. With an easier match on paper away at Rossington in a week's time, Boro could look to put together a more than handy string of results to make an assault on the table.
Boro Line up: Bramley, Wood, Kemp, Waltham ©, Phillips, Hepples, Widdowson, Bowsley (Evans), Hogg (Neill), Griffin, Botham
Unused Subs: Barker
Gedling Line up: Spring, Dyce (Kennerdale), Magee (Heath, Soar, Millns, Wilkes, Whitehead ©, Sweeney, Massingham (Westcarr), Seffries, Cobley