TWO controversial calls were the talking points as Warrington Town’s promotion dream ended at Scarborough Athletic.
A red card for Mitch Duggan early in the second half already had the Yellows on the back foot, and there were suggestions of handball in the build up for Bailey Gooda’s winner.
The Seadogs were able to see the game out and win 2-1 with their man advantage in front of a sell-out 2,805 crowd, as the Yellows once again fell agonisingly short in a play-off final again.
Both sides were unchanged from their respective play-off semi-final victories on Tuesday night, and for the Yellows that meant both top scorer Jordan Buckley and Josh Amis up front.
Buckley had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring inside three minutes, latching on to a perfectly weighted Mitch Duggan through ball, but the 19-goal man lifted his shot just over the bar.
Amis suffered the early blow of picking up a yellow card for a late challenge on eventual match winner Gooda, who made the most of the contact, and the hosts also regularly unleashed the threat of Ashley Jackson’s long throw.
They opened the scoring on 14 minutes and in style.
Michael Coulson, a hometown boy who played for the former Scarborough FC before their demise, chased a lost cause in to the corner, played it around Matt Regan along the by line and then whipped in a shot in to the far corner from a narrow angle for 1-0.
It took the Yellows a while to lift themselves up off the floor from that setback.
Sean Williams hit a long range effort well midway through the first half, as they struggled to make in roads in the final third.
But on 36 minutes they were level. Bohan Dixon rode two challenges in midfield and released Eddie Clarke down the left, his fizzed cross nodded home by Amis for 1-1.
The game hinged on a big call barely six minutes in to the second half.
Moments after Jordan Buckley had the ball in the net only to be denied by an offside flag, Duggan saw red.
It was a tough challenge by the tenacious full-back, as he won the ball but it was his follow through that caught the attention – the baying home crowd calling for his head and the referee produced a straight red card after consulting his linesman.
That made a difficult job even harder for the visitors, though their formation at least adjusted well to Duggan’s absence, with Evan Gumbs sliding over to right back.
They were on the back foot and held on until the 81st minute.
With Jay Harris off the field receiving treatment, the Yellows were left defending a corner with nine men. Although it was initially cleared, it got put back in to the box, and Williams’ clearance bounced down apparently off an outstretched arm in the path of Gooda who fired home for 2-1.
The Yellows just couldn’t get close enough to Ryan Whitley’s goal, and when Williams spooned a free-kick from the edge high and wide that looked like it.
But there was still time for late drama – Dan Atherton sent up for a late corner, he won the initial header and then Amis agonisingly headed against the crossbar and the Yellows were beaten.
Scarborough are promoted to National League North, while the Yellows will remain in the Northern Premier League, where they will go up against town counterparts Warrington Rylands in 2022/23.
Scarborough Athletic: Whitley, Weledji, Jackson, Maloney, Thornton, Gooda, Jarvis, Watson, Coulson, Glynn, Colville. Subs: Heslop, Bancroft, Plant, Cogill, Day.
Warrington Town: Atherton, Duggan, Regan, Harris (Buckley-Ricketts), Roberts, Gumbs, Buckley, Williams, Amis, Dixon, Clarke. Unused subs: Duffy, Mols, Grivosti, Hough.