Football: Scarborough stunned into silent disbelief - Scarborough 1 Peterborough United 1

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The Independent Online
PICTURE THE scene. Scarborough's season was over and their supporters were celebrating on the pitch. "All right now," blared the voice of Paul Rodgers over the public address system.

Only it wasn't alright. Scarborough's season may have been over, but the fight to stay in the Football League still had one cruel, fateful twist.

At first, when those plugged into radio sets relayed the news from Brunton Park there was sheer disbelief. Their goalkeeper's scored ? And in the fifth minute of injury time? They'll be telling us about UFOs over motorway service stations next. When the reality sank in there was mere stunned silence. It had been the same in the home dressing-room, it transpired.

Colin Addison and his players had spent the 10 minutes between the final whistle at the McCain Stadium and full-time at Brunton Park huddled around a radio, listening to the second-hand sealing of their fate.

"I suppose nothing should surprise me in football," Addison said later, and with good reason, having launched his managerial career with Hereford's fairy-tale FA Cup win against Newcastle in 1972 and having been sacked for leading Atletico Madrid from the brink of relegation to the brink of a Uefa Cup place. "But I've known nothing like this. We went through the whole range of emotions in those 10 minutes."

When they were over so was Scarborough's stay in the Football League - after 12 seasons and 536 matches. "We'll be back," Addison vowed, addressing the tearful throng from the balcony of the directors' box. Whether the masses will be back, though, is open to question.

Saturday's 4,769 lock-out was the first full house for a League fixture at the McCain since the visit of Wolves for the opening Football League game there in August 1987. That the match programme featured a manager's column labelled "Words from Wadsworth," because Scarborough have not been able to afford to change the heading since the departure of their former manager in January, confirmed that support is not the only vital commodity in short supply at the North Yorkshire club.

Addison will have to work more of the kind of wonders that left Scarborough with a lifeline to clutch on Saturday. Nine points adrift when he arrived three months ago, they failed to grasp their last-day chance.

They should have. But Darren Roberts, having neatly dispatched the equaliser three minutes before half-time, blazed over the bar with the Peterborough goal at his mercy five minutes into the second half. It was a bad miss. How badly Scarborough will miss League football remains to be seen.

Goals: Scott (7) 1-0; Roberts (42) 1-1.

Scarborough (4-4-2): Parks; Russell (Carr, 72), Atkinson, Worrall, Rennison; Brodie, McNaughton, Hoyland, Jones (Porter, 72); Tate, Roberts (Saville, 86). Peterborough United (4-3-3): Tyler; Hooper, Rennie, Wicks, Drury; Scott, Davies, Shields (Broughton, 75); Farrell, Grazioli, Etherington (Green, 86). Substitute not used: Koogi.

Referee: R Pearson (Peterlee).

Bookings: Scarborough: Roberts, Atkinson. Peterborough: Drury.

Man of the match: Farrell.

Attendance: 4,769.