CHRIS PIPER blasted home his first ever hat-trick in senior football to continue Boro's impressive recent run - and then thanked his brother Lenny for setting him up.

Piper Jnr bagged goals on 41 minutes and in injury time of both halves to complete a fifth successive victory, while taking his team's goal tally in that time to 21.

The much sought-after midfield man may have found the net seven times this season, but five have come in the cups, and according to the man of the moment, scoring in the Conference is a welcome relief.

He said: "It's me first hat-trick and it's even better to score it in the Conference as most of my goals have been saved for the cups this year.

It was good for Lenny to set me up for the first two, especially now as I have got one back on him after his hat-trick against Kings Lynn earlier in the season.

"After I got the first two I was thinking all game about getting the third, I'm just thankful that it came in the end, although it was a bit late."

Ironically Piper wasn't even scheduled the start this match, but chose the best possible time to prove his worth to boss Graham Westley and cement his claim for a regular place in the side.

A slight training ground injury to Gary Holloway in the week gave Piper the chance to impress alongside skipper Steve Watson in the centre of midfield, with Lenny selected to partner Christian Lee up front.

Indeed it was a pretty disappointing build-up for Westley after Rushden & Diamonds recalled on-loan keeper Tony Pennock at the last minute after a slight injury to their No.1 Billy Turley.

Darren Bonfield stepped in and did an adequate job in keeping out a Scarborough team fighting for their Conference lives at the foot of the table.

Westley, for one, was delighted with the end result. He said: "They had a right go at us today which we half expected because they are fighting for everything.

"We didn't get a great deal of protection from the referee so we had to get on with the job in hand and play it our way. It was a tough encounter and, in the end, a good game to win.

"Chris [Piper] can become a better player and will become a better player. I was delighted for him today because they were three great finishes. He got into good areas and when he got there, showing a positive attitude in smashing the back of the net."

This victory powered Boro up to fifth in the Conference table - a position indicative of the kind of football they are playing at present.

Indeed another three points at lowly, but now safe Chester tonight (ko 7.45pm) will see them leapfrog FA Trophy finalists Yeovil, although they will have two games in hand.

But Boro started this one slowly with in-form Scarborough desperate to secure their Conference safety. The Seasiders arrived with a proud unbeaten run of seven matches while protecting a fine recent away record of just one defeat since Boxing Day.

And they looked like continuing that from the off - first forcing Bonfield into a reaction save from Mark Patterson's free kick with just two minutes gone on the clock, then finally breaking the deadlock courtesy of Jason Blunt's glancing header to the far corner.

This seemed to force Boro in action and within two minutes they were level. Lee pounced onto a flick-on from Micky Warner's throw-in and fed Tony Taggart, who rifled home his fourth goal in as many games with a sweet volley from close range.

Boro were now in the ascendancy and it was no surprise to see them take the lead with half time fast approaching. Lenny Piper latched onto a fine lay-off from Lee and threaded through to his on-rushing sibling Chris, who made no mistake when rifling home a shot at Andy Woods' near post.

But Boro's lead lasted just four minutes when Scarborough caught them on the counter. Scott Jordan pumped in a long, hopeful ball from the left, Bonfield came storming out of his area but Darryn Stamp got their first and headed into an open net.

This rollercoaster first half was obviously enthralling referee Mullarky, who let play continue, giving Boro enough time to add another twist to the tale.

Lee earned a free kick 22 yards out, Lenny Piper surprised everyone by taking it quickly and threading through to Chris Piper, who notched his second with a shot at Woods' near post.

Boro just kept coming in a somewhat quieter second half period, and but for a couple of wayward finishes from Lee and a super save from Woods to deny Taggart, it could have been another goal avalanche.

In the end, though Boro sealed victory in the dying seconds when Taggart found Dean Green on the right hand side of the box, he skipped past Jordan to the by-line and cut back for Piper to complete his finest hour with the simplest of tap-ins.

BORO: Bonfield; Warner, Gregory, C Piper, Bunce, Laker (sub Annon 80mins), Watson, L Piper (Vansittart 79), Lee, Green, Taggart. Not used: Benstead, Crawshaw, Hicks.

SCARBOROUGH: Woods; Jordan, Hotte, Salt, Rennison, Faure (sub Jones 88mins), Blunt (Pounder 73), Patterson, Stamp, Sugden, Connell. Not used: Wright; Henderson, Shannon.

Ref: M Mullarky. Att: 843.

Boro reserves play Purfleet in the Capital League on Thursday night (ko 7.45pm).

The reserves continued their charge for honours in the Capital League with a 2-1 victory over Hitchin Town at the AIMITA Stadium on Wednesday night. Goals were scored by Rocky Baptiste and Miguel De Souza.

BORO: Bonfield; Whitcher (Potter), Annon, Harper, Ayres (Kanda), Hicks, Rose, Baptiste, De Souza, Crawshaw, Riddell.