Football: Addison disbelief as mission fails

Scarborough 1 Roberts 42 Peterborough United 1 Scott 7 Half-time: 1-1 Attendance: 4,769
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THE MANAGERIAL wheel turned cruelly full circle for Colin Addison yesterday. Twenty-seven years after launching his career by taking Hereford United into the Football League, he returned to the non-League nether regions as the man in charge of Scarborough's doomed Third Division survival mission. He could have hardly done so in a more agonising manner.

When the full-time whistle sounded at the McCain Stadium, Addison and his players were still clutching on to League status. News of Carlisle's injury-time winner reached them during a 10-minute wait in the dressing- room for the final score from Brunton Park. The public address system was playing "All Right Now". But the fans gathered expectantly on the pitch soon learned it wasn't alright at all. Scarborough's failure to beat Peterborough had cost them the League status they gained - ironically, ahead of Barry Fry's Barnet - 12 years ago.

If Carlisle beat Plymouth, only three points would have saved the North Yorkshire club. And it hardly eased the pain in the stunned aftermath that they ought to have secured them. Addison graduated to League management back in 1972 courtesy of Hereford's FA Cup heroics and Ronnie Radford's oft-replayed wonder goal. As his head hit the pillow last night, the Scarborough manager must have been haunted by re-runs of the sitter Darren Roberts missed five minutes into the second half yesterday. If anything, it was too clear a chance. Michael McNaughton's through-ball left the big striker with too much time to dwell upon the significance of his finish. With safety and the Peterborough net beckoning, he duly side-footed his shot over the bar.

With it, after the injury time dramatics at Brunton Park, went Scarborough's place on the Nationwide map. "We'll be back," Addison, leaning on the balcony of the directors' box, vowed to the tearful throng. He has taken some blows in his time in the management game, not least when he was sacked by Atletico Madrid nine years ago. But Addison struggled to conceal the hurt as he made his way back to a mournful home dressing-room.

"I suppose nothing should surprise me in football," he said. "But I've never experienced anything like those 10 minutes while we waited for the final score from Carlisle. It's cruel, very cruel. To have come from nine points adrift, which we were when I came here in February, then get off the bottom and go down like this..."

Addison left the sentence unfinished, just as his team had left their survival mission unfinished at the final whistle. They had done well to recover from the loss of an early goal, Richard Scott having shot Peterborough into a seventh-minute lead. Roberts broke clear to equalise three minutes before half-time but his decisive contribution was yet to come. It was a miss that cost Scarborough dear.