Scarborough Town were very unfortunate to suffer a 2-1 defeat in a Humber Premier League game which had to be switched to Malton Community Sports Centre when their normal home pitch at McCain Sports Ground was deemed to be unplayable.
Town began the game on top, with Hessle keeper Luke Picken pushing an Jamie Bradshaw 25-yarder around the post and then making a great save from a Sean Exley piledriver. Exley then showed excellent footwork to cut in from the left wing and unleash a drive which whistled over the bar.
After a long period of Town pressure, Hessle finally sniffed a chance when burly centre forward Mike Jones latched on a misplaced clearance to slam the ball just over the bar. Within a minute the same player had put the visitors into the lead from short-range with the Town defence waiting in vain for the referee’s whistle, and worse was to come when a goalmouth scramble saw the ball go over the line off Town keeper Matty Scott despite Town’s claims that the ball had not crossed the line.
This double blow did not halt Town’s flow of attacking football, and Ricky Greening cleverly went around a defender but was denied by a superb tackle at the last moment. Ben Luntley drew another vital save from Picken as Hessle packed their defence, and Bradshaw hit a snapshot which flew over the crossbar.
In a rare Hessle attack Jones went clear but could not pack enough power into his shot from a narrow angle. Then good work from Exley gave Bradshaw a chance to hit a trademark curler which beat the keeper but went outside the post.
The second half began with Town in the ascendency again, launching corners and long throws into the penalty area, but Hessle’s lanky centre-back Matt Lucid was in commanding form in the air and keeper Picken also showed great confidence in coming off his line to clutch or punch the ball. The unfamiliar narrow pitch was also hindering Town’s usual approach work, but a great overlapping run from Jon Manson caused panic in the visitors’ area.
Town deservedly got onto the scoresheet on 63 minutes when Lucid failed to clear for once, and Bradshaw latched onto the loose ball to hold off a defender and place the ball neatly past Picken into the bottom corner.
From the restart Town looked to have equalised immediately, but the linesman informed the referee that he had spotted an infringement just before the ball hit the net.
This disappointment seemed to affect Town for a while and Hessle worked two chances, Lucid going upfield for a corner but not getting enough power into his header, then Tony Pickles made a great block as the visitors threatened again. However Hessle then needed to defend in numbers once again, with Town peppering shots goalwards and Baz Gill nearly turning the ball into the net after a Pickles free-kick.
Bradshaw tried an acrobatic effort which went narrowly wide, then Lee Gardiner went close for Hessle as the game became somewhat bad-tempered with the visitors trying desperately to hang on to their lead.
In the closing seconds it seemed Town had finally grabbed a deserved equaliser, but Hessle skipper Tom Briggs leapt up to head the ball clear despite Town’s protests that the ball was already over the line.
Town: Scott, Nock, Clayton, Pickles, Gill, Manson (Collins 70), Bradshaw, N Thomas, Luntley, Exley (A Thomas 75), Greening