By Paul Connolly
Whitby Town battled to another goalless away draw on Saturday at Hednesford Town to take their unbeaten run on the road to five.
Neither side managed to break the deadlock in a nip and tuck affair, although chances were plenty in the second half particularly.
Chris Hardy made just one change from the side that rescued a 3-3 draw at Rushall Olympic, Jack Norton making a debut over the outgoing Ryan Whitley, who returned to York City earlier in the week.
It was the in-form hosts, who had won four of their last five going into the encounter, who almost opened the scoring with just three minutes on the clock.
James Lawrie shook off Dan McWilliams before sending a low ball to the feet of Charlie Gatter. His effort, however, could only strike Norton’s upright, with the Blues keeper beaten.
Whitby hit back five minutes later, James Fairley holding up on the edge of the 18 yard box, finding Tymon with a chip into the box. The Blues striker couldn’t get a clean head on the ball, sending his attempt at the back post over the crossbar.
In typical fashion of many Evo-Stik Premier matches, it was a tight affair, with both sides struggling to break out of the midfield. The hosts looked more likely to create something, but Whitby’s midfield pairing of Steven Snaith and Andy Monkhouse held firm and battled well to ensure nothing broke the Blues’ rearguard.
Lawrie threatened from 25 yards with a shot wide for the hosts, ten minutes ahead of the break, before Tom Thorley had a golden opportunity, though couldn’t keep his footing inside the Blues’ penalty area to convert James Fitzgibbon’s low cross.
Just ahead of the break, the Pitmen could have broken the deadlock. Luke Bythway conceded a free-kick 25 yards from goal, with Lawrie stepping up. He could only send his attempt wide however.
After the break, the game opened up, with both sides looking for the victory. It was the Blues who went close first, with Tymon seeing his strike deflected just wide.
But the introduction of Danny Glover sparked life into the Hednesford attack. Just a minute after entering proceedings, Callam Mendez-Jones released the forward with a defence-splitting through ball, though he could ultimately only drive his effort into the side netting.
Glover again got free just moments later, beating his man with a neat nutmeg before seeing his shot thwarted by Norton’s feet.
It was the turn of Fitzgibbon to go close next, curling a twenty yard effort just wide of the Seasiders’ left-hand upright.
Perhaps Whitby’s best chance of the game came with just under twenty minutes left on the clock. Lewis Maloney took a fantastic touch to open up space in the penalty area, though his low attempt was thwarted by a smart save from impressive gloveman James Wren.
Hednesford danger man Lawrie soon tried to have his say again, beating Kieran Weledji on the left and breaking into the penalty area. He curled an effort onto the upright, which saw the ball bounce up to substitute Reece King. However, the pace of the ball made it difficult to control and the Hednesford man put the golden opportunity over, with the goal at his mercy.
Callum Martin’s return from injury almost saw a goal for the right-back five minutes from time.
Junior Mondal’s left-wing cross was cleared by Gatter, falling to Martin whose thunderbolt half-volley flew just wide of Wren’s post.
As the game drew to a close, you got the sense there could still be a goal in it for either side. Both sides forced corners in the last few minutes. It was Whitby who went closest however, Tymon trying to catch Wren out with a lob from range, before Mondal saw his backheel effort cleared by Sam Oji with the last kick of the game.
Hednesford Town: Wren, Mendez-Jones, Curley, Fitzpatrick (King ’71), Oji, Gatter, Walsh, Thorley (C), Butlin (Glover ’60), Lawrie, Fitzgibbon (Graham ’71). Subs not used: Bailey, Harris.
Whitby Town: Norton, Weledji, McWilliams, Burgess, Bythway, Snaith (C), Monkhouse, Fairley (Martin ’68), Tymon, Maloney (Patton ’81), Mondal. Subs not used: Hume, Fryatt, May.
Whitby Town MotM: Kieran Weledji – another impressive performance from the right-back, who will continue to force Callum Martin out of the side if he keeps up with performances like this.