Scarborough Town ease into cup quarter-finals

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Scarborough Town had little trouble disposing of Hessle United as they won 4-2 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Humber Premier League Cup and a meeting next month with North Ferriby United Reserves, the team Town beat in the final of last year’s competition.

Town began assertively on an unusually bumpy McCain Sports Ground, forcing their First Division visitors immediately onto the back foot. Ricky Greening rode a fierce tackle to go away and lay the ball back for Jamie Bradshaw whose low shot was saved by keeper Ben Hamilton.

Then Ben Luntley went clear to set up a scramble on the Hessle goalline, with the assistant referee waving away claims that Bradshaw had forced the ball over the line. Hamilton threw himself at the feet of Neil Thomas to make a good block, then the visitors were outwitted by a couple of quickly-taken corners but the final touch was missing. Thomas again tried his luck with a shot which was deflected off a defender to safety.

With Town dominating possession it seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken, and the vital goal arrived in the 27th minute when a corner from Bradshaw eluded a number of players before arriving at the feet of Baz Gill who touched the ball in from close range to put Town ahead.

Bradshaw cut in from the left to blast narrowly over the bar, then a splendid four-man move saw an astute pass from Martin Barnes collected in his stride by Ben Luntley but the final shot was just off target.

Hessle did not create their first chance until 31 minutes when Luke Sherwood hit a low shot, and within two minutes the same player hit a fierce effort which flew just too high. At the other end, another good move produced a chance for Martin Cooper who steered his effort just wide. Then Town had a scare when Matty Scott was hurried into a clearance which struck Sherwood and rebounded back but just wide of the goal.

Town increased their lead on 44 minutes when a corner from Cooper again found its way through to Baz Gill who netted his second of the game. Cooper nearly added his name to the scoresheet but was just wide after running on to a clever pass from Bradshaw.

The second half began with Town earning a couple more corners, with Greening swivelling to shoot just over the bar, but in a rare attack the visitors were awarded what looked a very soft penalty for a foul by Barnes, and Bobby Upson stepped forward to net confidently and give the visitors a smidgen of hope.

Bradshaw set up a chance for Cooper whose shot was deflected wide, but Town restored their two-goal margin when a good bout of possession ended with a superb first time cross from Bradshaw for Danny Collins to score from eight yards out. Hessle were playing good football at times, but Town’s ever-reliable skipper Ricky Nock was always there to snuff out any potential strikes at the Town goal, and Cooper also showed his defensive capabilities with a great block.

On 76 minutes newly-introduced substitute Shane Holt pounced on a loose ball in the Hessle area to lay it back for Cooper who struck the ball sweetly from 20 yards and watched it sizzle into the Hessle net to make the score 4-1.

A Barnes free kick was headed over by Neil Thomas who then tried his luck with a 25-yarder which beat the keeper but went the wrong side of the foot of the post.

Tempers flared for a moment and Town’s young substitute Aidan Thomas was surprisingly red-carded on the intervention of the linesman, then Scott pulled off a good save at one end and Holt nodded a bouncing ball just over the bar at the other end.

As the game moved into injury-time, Hessle moved the ball upfield and Kaymen Edwards blasted the goal of the game from long range to make the scoreline more respectable for his team.

This was not one of Town’s better performances on an unpredictable surface which made it difficult for both teams, but there was no doubt that the home team deserved their win.

Town: Scott, Manson, Clayton (A Thomas 45), Nock, Gill, N Thomas, Bradshaw, Cooper, Luntley (Holt 75), Greening (Collins 66), Barnes.