Terrific point at the seaside for Peterborough Sports

Scarborough's equalising goal against Peterborough Sports. Photo: Richard PonterScarborough's equalising goal against Peterborough Sports. Photo: Richard Ponter
Scarborough's equalising goal against Peterborough Sports. Photo: Richard Ponter
Peterborough Sports claimed an excellent National League North point at third-placed Scarborough Athletic on Saturday.

Joint player-manager Michael Gash fired Sports ahead following a Dan Lawlor free kick on 11 minutes in Sports’ first attack of the contest.

There was a touch of good fortune about the Scarborough leveller on 54 minutes when an Alex Wiles shot struck a Sports defender and looped over goalkeeper Peter Crook and into the net.

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Sports created chances throughout the contest in front of a crowd of 1,584 which included 34 visiting fans.

Mark Jones (left) in action for Peterborough Sports at Scarborough. Photo: Richard PonterMark Jones (left) in action for Peterborough Sports at Scarborough. Photo: Richard Ponter
Mark Jones (left) in action for Peterborough Sports at Scarborough. Photo: Richard Ponter

Here’s Lillianna Armstrong’s match report….

Sports were back in National League North action for the first time in 2024 as they headed up to North Yorkshire to face an in-form Scarborough Athletic side. Sports were certainly boosted by momentum of their own after last weekend's FA Trophy victory as well as also finishing 2023 with two league victories. The starting XI remained unchanged from the visit to Horsham last week.

The hosts had made their home quite a fortress over the last couple of months and it was clear that they wanted to start the game quickly. On seven minutes, ‘The Seadogs’ had a brilliant chance to put themselves ahead when Ollie Dyson was able to dink the ball over the onrushing Peter Crook however, Gash was able to get to the ball in time to clear before it reached the back of the net.

‘The Turbines’ did well to soak up the early pressure from Scarborough and they were rewarded with a goal on 11 minutes.

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A handball from a Scarborough player meant Sports were given a free kick on the right hand side. Dan Lawlor delivered an excellent ball into the box and Michael Gash was able to beat the defensive line and stick a foot out to poke the ball home.

Despite playing into the wind during the first half, Sports were able to manage the issues that it caused well and continued to have chances.

Scarborough’s in-form man Aidan Rutledge, on loan from Gateshead, also had a couple of chances as did Dom McHale and Alex Brown however, Sports’ goalkeeper Peter Crook was often on hand to either save or intercept any danger.

On 31 minutes, Crook produced one of two incredible saves to deny the hosts from getting back into the game. A shot from Rutledge crashed against the crossbar and McHale got onto the rebound and directed a free header towards goal but Crook made a brilliant, acrobatic save to deny the effort from point-blank range.

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Towards the back end of the first half, Sports had a decent spell of possession. Jordan Nicholson saw a fierce left-footed effort punched away by Ryan Whitley in the Scarborough goal on 34 minutes and then a minute later, a low effort from Dion Sembie-Ferris from a tight angle was met by the hand of Whitley again.

Having gone into the break the happier of the two sides, Sports came out brightly in the second half and it was clear that they wanted to add more to their tally.

On 46 minutes, a corner from Jordan Nicholson very nearly crept its way into the top corner as the wind grabbed hold of it, but Whitley did well to palm it over the bar for another Sports corner.

There was then a change of formation as they switched to a three at the back to match that of Sports and it was from this point that Scarborough had their chances to press.

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There was another brilliant save from Crook on 52 minutes when he was again able to save an effort at point-blank range from Brown, this time with his legs, to deny what looked to be a certain goal.

The equaliser did come for the hosts two minutes later though when a shot on the turn from Wiles took a heavy deflection and looped over Crook and into the net.

The heads of the Sports players certainly didn’t drop after that goal and they continued to defend well and have their own chances. There was an excellent opportunity on 63 minutes for ‘The Turbines’ to regain the lead when Sembie-Ferris cleverly beat the offside trap and squared the ball to Nicholson who was free on the penalty spot however, his tame right-footed effort was well-saved by Whitley.

It seemed Sports had found that elusive second goal on 68 minutes when a cross from Sembie-Ferris was taken by the wind towards the goal and looked to be taken over the line by the hands of Whitley however, the referee ruled the effort out for a foul on the ‘keeper.

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Mark Jones, Nicholson and Josh McCammon all had further chances, but they were either off-target or well-blocked. Crook was forced into another good save on 88 minutes to deny a shot from McHale.

The city side are at home to play-off chasing Alfreton on Tuesday (January 23, 7.45pm) before the big one next Saturday against a Scunthorpe United side managed by Sports’ legend Jimmy Dean next Saturday.

Sports are 15th, seven points above the relegation zone with games in hand on most teams in the division.

Sports: Crook, Tootle, Fox, Fryatt, McCammon, Gash, Alban-Jones, Lawlor, Jones, Nicholson, Sembie-Ferris. Unused subs Elsom, Meyer, Fowkes, Felix, Miles.

Scarborough: Whitley, Brown, Colville, McHale, Thornton, Gooda, Purver, Wiles, Rutledge (Tear 80), Dyson, Green (Maloney 70).