Boro left hurt by horror Storrie

It is said that the sign of a good referee is that they ghost through the game in unnoticeable fashion.

Sadly, that couldn't be said of official David Storrie in Scarborough Athletic's trip to Brighouse Town, whose astonishing performance left both sides with frowns of bemusement.

Boro get stuck into Brighouse during their 2-1 defeat

Boro get stuck into Brighouse during their 2-1 defeat

It was Boro who felt the brunt of his decision making though, as two late Christmas presents helped Brighouse on their way to a 2-1 Evo-Stik North victory.

These rulings from Mr Storrie came in the second half of a bruising, but thrilling, encounter at the Dual Seal Stadium, after which a draw would have possibly been a fair reflection.

Instead, more anguish was added for Boro, who had seen joint-bosses Bryan Hughes and Paul Foot departing from their roles just a few days earlier.

Twenty-five-year-old midfielder Matty Bloor, coach Chris Bolder and under-21 manager Steve Roberts assumed duties for the game, boosted by the return from injuries of Steve Mallory and Nathan Peat, both of whom slotted in at centre-half.

Despite the upheaval they started brightly, with a lively midfield giving the strike-pairing of Ryan Blott and Tom Corner plenty to feed on.

Corner had their first opportunity when he found some space in the box, but the big frontman lifted well over the bar.

Alex Metcalfe then had three great chances to move Boro into the ascendancy.

After drilling wide when twice being played in by Blott, Metcalfe benefited from Blott's creativity for a third time and he was sent scampering through on Paul Hagreen. With the Brighouse keeper in no-man's land, Metcalfe's low shot evaded the stopper, but struck the side-netting.

There were a huge amount of positives to take from Boro's first-half performance and they began the second period in search of a three-point haul to halt their slide.

With the half just four minutes old, referee Storrie grabbed centre-stage with his first questionable call.

A Brighouse ball from the right was whipped into the box and turned home by Boro defender Steve Mallory, but immediately the linesman flagged the striker, who was breathing down Mallory's neck, as being in an off-side position.

After a swift consultation between the officials, Mr Storrie overruled the linesman's call and awarded the goal.

In some instances referees do show some remorse after making a controversial decision and elect to restore the equilibrium.

There was no trace of this as Mr Storrie struck again in the 70th minute of the game.

A Boro corner from the left was spilled by keeper Hagreen, it then hit his foot it rolled into the back of the net.

The referee firstly awarded the goal, then swiftly pointed for a foul on Hagreen. He then brandished a red card to Boro's Bloor, who queried this sudden change of heart.

It then became a question of what might happen next, and fortunately for Boro, sub Jamie Forrester produced a moment of brilliance to haul them back on level terms.

Forrester collected 25 yards from goal and smashed in a dipping shot that gave Hagreen absolutely no chance.

Boro's tails were up after this, but there was still a late twist to hurt the 10 men.

As the clock ticked on towards the 90th minute, Boro failed to properly clear a corner, and after it was returned into the box, Brighouse substitute Adam Wilson crashed home.

There may have been a feeling of injustice from Mr Storrie's earlier behaviour, but the finish on the turn from Wilson was clearly worthy of winning the clash.

It may have been a pointless trip for Boro, but the fight, effort and guile they showed does offer positive signs for the board, fans and any prospective new managers.