Pontefract 1 Boro 2

With Dave Kemp, Carl Wood and Kevin Milner all injured Brian France could count his blessings that there was depth in numbers. Jamie Waltham returned from suspension to take his place in the center of defence, Ryan Davies and Botham completing the back three. The side remained the same in the rest of the field apart from Ryan Morton who was rested giving Joel Hartley his first start of his Athletic career. 

Boro had a dream start when on their first attack right back Eastwood cleared the ball directly into the path of Scarborough's Scott Phillips on the six yard line. Phillips couldn't have hoped for an easier finish and gleefully took his chance from close range, his seasons total now on 18 in pole position for the clubs top scorer. The away support was looking forward to a big goal tally for the day when Ryan Blott got the second goal only 6 minutes after the first. Blott passed to Dave Thompson to send him down the left touchline, some neat trickery fooled his man and allowed him space to find Blott on the six yard line, the striker made no mistake and scored in a similar fashion.

Scarborough continued to look for more and were containing Pontefract in their own half, Mark Griffin was having some joy down the right wing, centering just out of reach of the prowling Blott. The home side were allowed to get a look in when Dave Bramley spilled a free kick, Dale Rimmington was the first to react and toe poked the ball past the Boro keeper at his near post. Griffin continued to cause problems down the right, his cross again just off target with Phillips lurking at the back post. Despite the excellent start to the game Boro really failed to keep the momentum going, after going 2 goals clear by half time the game was there for the taking and Frances men failed to put the game to bed. 

Unfortunately for the travellers the trend continued into the second half, Frances famous half time team talk failing to take effect. All three substitutes were made in 10 minutes shortly after the break, Craig Hogg, Gary Hepples and Ryan Morton were introduced to try and inject a little life into the Boro performance. Boro had a good penalty should when Phillips was taken down in what appeared to be in the area, the referee disagreed and only awarded a free kick just outside the box. Hogg offered one of the best chances to Thompson when he centered the ball, keeper Haywood was on the money to take the ball away from the feet of the Boro midfielder. 

Boro were down to ten men half way through the second half when Waltham rose above his man and was adjudged to have used too much elbow for the referee's liking and was issued a straight red. Athletic were doing their best with ten men but nothing was clicking, passes were misplaced and the killer instinct was clearly missing. Blott was still threatening to increase the score line, two free kicks from distance forcing a neat saves to stop the away side increasing their lead. The second red card was issued before time when frustrated captain Andy Lanes kicked the ball into the crowd after the whistle had gone; the referee promptly showed him the direction to the changing rooms. Pontefract had a chance to steal a point at the stroke of time with a free kick in a dangerous position; Tomlinson sent the ball high and wide giving the visitors the points. 

Boro were successful in that they took the points, however the bright started looked like a record victory was on the cards but the game deteriorated into a frustrating affair. Dave Thompson was once again stood out of the crowd both in quality, effort and the ability to run for days even so close to his injury recovery. Jamie Waltham will now be facing a further suspension after returning from a previous misdemeanour. Everyone has a bad day at the office; Brain France will be hoping that today was just one of those days. 

Final score: Pontefract 1 - Boro 2

Pontefract Line-up: Haywood, Eastwood, Slater (Longley 23), Sullivan, Lanes ©, Rimmington, Birkett, Clark, Tomlinson, Rayne (Duckworth 73), Grindel    Goals: Rimmington 23   Cards: Yellow: Sullivan, Rimmington, Birkett   Red: Lanes 

Boro Line-up: Bramley, Davies (Hepples 61), Waltham ©, Botham, Griffin, Thompson (Morton 68), Widdowson, Phillips, Hartley, Medcalf (Hogg 59), Blott   Goals: Phillips 5, Blott 11    Cards: Yellow: Waltham, Bramley   Red: Waltham 

Attendance: 270

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