Craig Bradshaw made a surprise return to the first team following Ross Worner’s late withdrawl due to illness, but the return of the popular goalkeeper could not stop ‘Boro falling to a 2-0 defeat.

‘Boro started brightly on a bitterly cold night at The Avenue Stadium with Dave Tarpey having two great chances early on, he agonisingly saw his first opening cleared off the line, before latching onto a classy through ball from Dan Bennett only to see the home keepers heels thwart what looked like a certain goal.

Against the run of play the hosts took the lead on 22 minutes, Tom Nichols firing home from close range.

Richard Peniket who had been suffering from flu over the weekend was showing signs of his illness and was replaced by Ciardini soon after the goal, and The Magpies doubled their advantage in the final minute of the opening period, Laidler harshly adjudged to have fouled Martin, and from the resulting free kick, Steve Walker on his debut headed home.

Into the second period and ‘Boro had a stonewall penalty turned away by referee Steve Daly, judging that Tarpey who was clear through on goal had dived when it would have been easier to score, and booking the ;Boro man for his alledged simulation.

‘Boro never really got into the second half as the game petered out into a win for the hosts.

Next up for ;Boro and its another road trip, this time the long trek to Weston-Super-Mare on Saturday.