Scarborough Athletic 1
Bridlington Town 2
BILLY don’t be a hero, the song says, but Brid’s Billy Logan did just the opposite.
The big man, an electrician during the week, hit two second-half goals to give Town the points against their tenants for the second time in a matter of weeks.
He may not be the most technical player in the Seasiders’ dressing room, but he is perhaps the most improved and his double showed just what an important part of the squad Logan is becoming.
He was only moved into midfield after a first-half injury to Ash Allanson meant a re-jig of the team, but the switch paid dividends.
Boro will consider themselves unlucky not to have earned a point, in what was a good, but not a great, derby encounter, but they failed to hammer home their advantage before the break and were left to rue the consequences.
It means Scarborough Athletic have still not beaten Bridlington as the home team in five attempts, despite taking the lead after just four minutes this time around.
Adam Lee fed Paddy Miller down the left and his cross was met by Tony Hackworth, whose header from six yards out was firm and well-directed. Mark Wilberforce made a tremendous effort to keep it out but he couldn’t quite stop the ball from crossing the line.
A great start for Athletic but they could have been behind before their goal. Nathan Cook’s long-range shot was nervously parried by Kevin Martin, but he redeemed himself by blocking Josh Greening’s rebound from close range
Both teams tried their luck from free kicks, Frank Belt fizzing a shot wide and Ryan Blott hitting a lazy effort into the wall.
Tom Fleming fired over from the edge of the area but most of the play was in the middle of the park in the opening stages.
Allanson headed over from Belt’s inswinging cross, before Martin fumbled a seemingly simple save again, struggling with Robbie Hawkes’ effort after a little trick had opened up room for him on the edge of the area.
The teams were looking evenly-matched, with Boro much improved from their 3-1 defeat on Boxing Day. Boss Rudy Funk had chosen to play three central defenders and operate with wing backs and this formation nullified Brid, who looked well below-par.
Hackworth, streets ahead of his team-mates three weeks ago as a centre-half, was playing in midfield and again showed he was a class above.
On 38 minutes, a well-timed tackle by Matt Draper denied Allanson a clear run on goal, but the Brid midfielder sustained ankle ligament damage in the challenge, and limped off to be replaced by Danby.
He slotted in at right back, with Logan moving into midfield, but Danby’s first involvement saw him horribly outpaced by Miller, who ran 50 yards and fed Blott. A neat turn in the area opened up a shooting chance, but Wilberforce blocked.
That was the turning point - there would have been no way back for Town from 2-0 down at the break.
As it was, despite being very mediocre for 45 minutes, they were just one behind, and after a few tweaks in tactics and formation at half-time, the game was still there for the taking.
And take it they did. Within two minutes of the restart, Craig Palmer’s free kick on the halfway line went via Hawkes and Fleming to Billy Logan, whose 25 yard shot flew past Martn and brought Brid level.
It had been a long way from a blood and thunder derby but the first sign of tempers flaring came when Cook chopped down Miller, who retaliated by tapping Cook’s ankles when he got up. Both were booked, as players from both sides rushed round to have their say.
By this stage, Town were hustling and harassing Boro, pressing them much higher up the pitch, and giving them less time on the ball. The work rate was noticeably higher although their passing game was nowhere near its best.
Buoyed by his goal, Logan assumed free-kick duties and forced Martin to scramble a save from his 30-yard blast, before blazing another effort miles over the bar later in the half.
Craig Hogg, unusually quiet during the afternoon, mainly because of the attentions of ex-Brid defender Dave Kemp, sliced a shot over the bar when off balance, as it became clear the next goal would probably be the winner.
Blott came close to providing it on 75 minutes. Palmer misjudged a high ball and the Boro striker ran on and hit an excellent shot from an awkward angle. Wilberforce made a very smart save, although he would have been disappointed to have been beaten from that position, regardless of the quality of the opponent.
With 10 minutes to go, the home side looked more likely to find the breakthrough. With seven minutes to go, their hopes were shattered.
Greening delivered a corner from the right, Hogg got a faint touch and Logan swivelled to volley past Martin from eight yards out.
A 10-minute backs-to-the-wall job for Brid to preserve their three points? No need, Athletic’s decent start was a distant memory and they had run out of ideas, Hackworth’s shot across goal being their only effort of note as they tried to salvage a draw.
The final incident saw Draper booked for hauling down Greening after he looked to swoop on a poor Martin clearance.
Fans savoured their first league double over their tenants and their continued bragging rights at Queensgate. Funk’s 3-5-2 formation had caught Brid cold in the first half but when Brid adapted after the break, Boro had no reply.
It could be a fatal blow in Scarborough’s lingering hopes of securing the championship.
And 35 miles away, there was a late goal which could have just as much influence on the title race as Logan’s winner.
Darren Clough, who left Queensgate a month ago, scored an 88th minute equaliser for Pickering against leaders Retford.
See Thursday’s Free Press for match pictures, player ratings and Mitch Cook’s reaction to the win.