Scarborough Town welcomed back Barry Gill and Ben Luntley after a week’s absence for their home League Cup 2-0 win against Hessle Sporting Club.
Also making a re-appearance in the team was midfielder Billy Logan who was a member of Town’s Wearside League championship-winning squad in 2009-10.
However Ricky Greening and Martin Barnes were unavailable having picked up injuries against North Cave last week, so Town were expecting a tough battle against Sporting after sharing the points with them in two league battles last season in Division One.
Town began with confidence and took the lead after only three minutes. Jamie Bradshaw went clear on the right flank and found Luntley in the penalty area who unselfishly knocked the ball back for Sean Exley to plant into the net.
After a foul on Exley, the victim took the free-kick himself but the ball flew just wide of the right-hand post.
Town continued to dominate possession without creating clear-cut chances, and not until the 20th minute did the visitors have a glimpse of the Town goal, James Bell hitting the ball powerfully but off target from a free-kick.
Logan slid a great pass through the Hessle defence to send Bradshaw down the left wing to cut in and curl a shot just over the bar, then Exley was also not sufficiently accurate with an ambitious 40-yarder.
Bradshaw penetrated the centre of the visiting defence but was brought down just outside the penalty area by Gareth Key. The free-kick caused havoc in the Hessle defence but despite several half-chances Town were unable to add to their lead.
Good footwork from Logan allowed Luntley to race through to the bye-line but his low cross was diverted by a last-ditch block, then a Bradshaw free-kick eluded the keeper but Josh Clayton was just unable to turn the ball in at the far post.
As the first half ended Bradshaw cut in from the right and clipped a shot against the crossbar, then the same player ran on to a perceptive pass from Jamie Patterson but his shot was held by visiting keeper Adam Wood.
A Ricky Nock foray down the right flank provided the first goalmouth action of the second period, with Wood saving twice in quick succession from Exley.
However another goal for Town was on the cards, and a free-kick from the right found Jamie Patterson who made no mistake from close range to make the score 2-0 after 51 minutes. Hessle’s first attempt of the half was a long-range effort from Gareth Wray which sailed over the crossbar.
After a prolonged bout of possession football Luntley tried his luck from a narrow angle but Wood saved well, but at the other end Nock cleared the danger when Hessle got two men forward on the counter-attack.
Town came close to a third goal when Logan beat the keeper from 18 yards but the ball hit the inside of the right-hand post and bounced back across goal behind a helpless Wood. Substitute Shane Holt was soon in the action as he latched on to a Logan pass but again the shot thudded against the goalpost.
The visiting keeper got down well to make a save from Exley, and Holt earned a corner when his shot was blocked by a desperate defender.
Holt was also involved in the next action when he broke clear of the Hessle back-line and aimed his shot to the right of Wood who had raced out of his area. Wood clearly used his arm to deflect the shot off target and Town were awarded a free- kick but no action was taken against Wood for his deliberate handball.
It took Hessle until the 83rd minute to hit a shot on target when Key’s thunderbolt was superbly saved by Town’s underworked keeper Rob Clark, however the ball was returned into the box where Wray inexplicably hit the ball wide from close range.
Town’s reliable hitman Luntley was showing his usual splendid work-rate but failed to add to his nine-goal tally this season by clipping one effort just too high and then rolling the ball wide of the target from six yards after more good work from Holt.
Luntley then hassled the keeper into a poor clearance with Exley looking up and hitting the ball goalwards from 45 yards, only to see it drop agonisingly onto the roof of the net with the goalkeeper hopelessly out of position.
The defending Cup-winners, who last season became the first Division One side ever to lift the trophy, therefore progressed into the last 16 with few alarms and can perhaps look forward to tougher games later in the competition.
Town: Clark, Nock, Clayton, Gill, Smart, Patterson, Manson (A Thomas 58), Logan, Luntley, Bradshaw (Holt 70), Exley.