Remembering where we once were.
Meetings between Doncaster and Scarborough had primarily been reserved for the fourth tier of English football, until the former left via the trap door in 1998, and were followed by the latter just a year later.
One Club would return and prosper, the other was nowhere near as fortunate.
The Clubs first crossed swords, as ‘local rivals’ – despite the two hour travel time – in fixtures which were played ‘back to back’ over the festive period.
The Seasiders won the first encounter, thanks to Chris Tate, at Belle Vue in late 99 in front of over 4,700, before a goalless return at the McCain Stadium (Seamer Road).
The following year was even more miserable as the east coast side won both encounters 3-1 and 2-0 at home and away, respectively.
The appointment of Russell Slade brought an entrepreneurship and entertainment to the Boro, epitomised by their 4-3 defeat at the hands of Rovers in South Yorkshire – Steve Wignall’s last game in charge.
The hosts twice had to come from behind through Jamie Paterson and Andy Watson, before Gareth Owen and Tris Whitman extended the advantage. Future Rover Jason Blunt reduced the arrears with a late consolation.
Dave Penney and Mark Atkins took temporary charge of Rovers, only to see their troops fall 1-0 to Blunt’s solitary strike in the return, their first league game in the hotseat.
Rovers would rout the Seasiders in a fantastic 5-2 Boxing Day win in 2002, which saw the hosts have former Rovers striker Neil Campbell sent off. Robert Gill and Jamie Paterson both bagged braces in addition to Paul Barnes opener past another former Rover in Andy Woods.
Slade’s men never gave Doncaster an easy game though and so it proved in the return when his men edged out Rovers 1-0.
That was the last time the clubs met in the league and though Rovers were the victims of a cup ‘upset’ in the FA Cup the following year where Scarborough won 1-0 and would go on to play Chelsea in the fourth round.
Things went rapidly downhill for the North Yorkshire side and they were relegated to the Conference North in 2006, despite an initial reprieve, after the authorities were unconvinced about their perilous financial position.
Scarborough FC’s 128 year existence came to a sad close eight years ago when debts totalled over £2 million and had they remained, they would have started in the seventh tier.
That didn’t happen as Scarborough Athletic were formed in their place. Athletic started in the Northern Counties East League Division One – the tenth rung on the league ladder.
Despite playing at Bridlington Town’s ground, Athletic have gained a couple of promotions and will play in the Northern Premier League Division One North next term, still three leagues adrift of the Conference National.
*Dave Penney and Dean Walling put in an aerial challenge for Rovers on 3rd January 2000 at the McCain Stadium where, despite a red card apiece, the game finished 0-0 in front of 3,510 spectators*