Bridlington Town 5
Scarborough Athletic 0
Northern Counties East League Premier Division
FLIPPING heck! Nobody saw this Shrove Tuesday battering coming.
Brid were filling their boots in the second half, after a goalless opening period, as Athletic tossed away any good work from the first 45 minutes.
There were two goals in three minutes immediately after the interval, and the hosts proved it was no flash in the pan as they added three more past their beleaguered tenants.
It was a scoreline you would never have believed possible after an evenly-matched first half, but Scarborough rolled over and simply went flat after they had fallen behind.
It was no surprise that one of the many players up against their former team had the first chance of the game. Scott Phillips capitalised when Graham Botham was caught sleeping, but having broken a wobbly offside trap he shot at Tom Woodhead.
Shortly afterwards he headed over after Rob Eeles flicked on a left-wing corner and Woodhead dashed from his line to thwart him again.
Boro’s first effort came on 10 minutes as Bill Law headed goalwards from Richard Medcalf’s cross but it lacked the power to cause any trouble.
Ash Allanson blazed over at the end of a move he started, by pinging a long-range pass out to Steve Lyon, and Ryan Blott had a shot safely gathered by Mark Wilberforce, but the opening exchanges were tense and tight.
Another former Boro man, striker-turned-defender Craig Palmer was relishing his battle with Blott, and made an important header to clear the danger from a free-kick, and he then blocked Medcalf’s efforts to engineer a chance.
Wilberforce was tested seriously for the first time when Blott met Richard Dunning’s free kick but the keeper produced an athletic save.
Then, within minutes, both sides spurned their best chances of the half. Phillips found himself bearing down on Woodhead but tried to be too clever, and took too long, his decision to try to dummy the keeper backfiring and the defence scrambled the ball clear.
At the other end, Blott sneaked in ahead of Wilberforce and his shot from a narrow angle had all Town fans fearing the worst. The FA Vase clash earlier in the season had proved a tight angle is no barrier to Blott’s scoring ability, but this time the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.
Blott then headed wide and Medcalf’s 25-yard-shot was staright at Wilberforce as Scarborough enjoyed a settled spell, but they were lucky to go in all square at the break.
The Athletic crossbar was still wobbling as the half-time whistle went, after Craig Hogg unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot from the corner of the area, which had beaten Woodhead but crashed against the woodwork.
Ex-Town defender Frank Belt was introduced as a half-time substitute but within three minutes his side had gifted their landlords two goals.
James Bennett tapped in from close range after Gary Hepples had made a crucial slip in his own penalty area. Town had made a quick break from an Athletic corner but there appeared no danger until Lyon dispossessed the midfielder and squared.
Worse followed for the visitors within 90 seconds. Craig Hogg chased a long, bouncing ball into the area and challenged Woodhead. The keeper should have collected easily but Hogg jumped highest, and rolled the ball into the empty net.
Shellshocked Boro forced a few corners as they tried to respond, but Dunning’s speciality seemed to be hitting the first defender every time.
Belt had to clear off the line from Tom Lee and Alex Rhodes fired over from distance as Town went in search of a third, killer goal.
But Blott, despite having one of his quieter games, remained a worry. First he skipped past Palmer with ease but Eeles helped his defensive partner out. Then Wilberforce tipped a dipping effort from Boro’s leading scorer over the bar.
On the hour mark, the game was wrapped up. No mistakes by the Boro defence this time, just a clever turn in the area by Bennett and a quality curling left-foot finish which Woodhead did not even move for.
Law’s last involvement was a shot he dragged wide before he made way for James Webb, who had a couple of chances to put doubts in Brid minds, but he couldn’t find the net.
Town substitute Gareth Owen looked desperate to get on the scoresheet and went for goal after shrugging off two challenges, but his effort was too high.
And then, as the final stages were looking like a formality, Brid rubbed salt into Boro wounds with two late goals.
Owen nipped in ahead of Woodhead and rolled the ball across goal. Scott Phillips revelled in the chance to get one over on his former teammates and tapped in from a matter of inches.
Then on 90 minutes Gareth Owen nodded into an empty net after Hogg had been given a free header which bounced back off the post.
The Seasiders had secured a bigger win than they had dared to dream, despite not having to get out of third gear.
Bridlington won’t care too much that it was their opponents’ generosity, rather than a vintage display of their own, which brought about such a hammering.
The Queensgate fans won’t forget this night in a hurry. If you chose to stay in and watch Barcelona v Arsenal on TV, shame on you.