Blues stretched their unbeaten March to six matches, ending second-placed Nantwich’s own run without league defeat at the 14-game point, on Saturday.
Chris Hardy’s men were great value for the victory which took them up to sixth spot going into a busy midweek programme. Hardy made just one change from the side that beat a young Middlesbrough in the North Riding Senior Cup, less than 48 hours before. Skipper Steven Snaith was available again, after serving a two-match suspension and he replaced assistant boss Lee Bullock as Luke Bythway dropped back in at centre-half.
The Seasiders made a dream start, inside 40 seconds, when Adam Gell released Davy Carson on the edge of the box and his tame, low effort somehow slipped between goalkeeper Dan Gyollai and his right-hand post. Gyollai was up to his old tricks again, within four minutes, taking a heavy touch from Ibou Touray’s backpass for Mikey Roberts to steal in, only for the Stoke City loanee to parry point-blank, with his right leg. The six-foot-five stopper then reacted well to push away league debutant Anthony Bell’s 18-yard powerful drive that was headed for the bottom-right corner of the net.
Tom Peers skied a potshot late in the first half to sum up the Cheshire side’s awful start to the game. They began the second period more brightly but Whitby effectively sealed the win, just after the hour mark. A lovely move on the edge of the box culminated in Carson squaring from the left edge for Dale Hopson to run on and guide a rising ball into the top-right corner. The introduction of six foot seven forward Vinny Mukendi added a focal point for the hosts, with the newcomer’s downward header hooked clear by Dan McWilliams. Late on, the former Congolese under-19 international nodded down for Sean Cooke to guide straight at Bland. Home boss Phil Parkinson then tried Joe Mwasile, who alongside hat-trick hero Osebi Abadaki, tore Whitby apart in the clubs’ clash at the Turnbull, in December, but he found it equally fruitless, up against Callum Martin, on the Whitby right. Joe Johnston, who had quite the tussle, in midfield, with the yellow-carded Carson, had made way. Steve Jones, previously involved with Northern Ireland, showed his quality, when introduced as Nantwich’s last throw of the dice late on, but an exceptionally-hard-working Whitby side withstood his best efforts.
The closest the men in green came to a breakthrough was Curtis Jones’ back header from fellow defender Sam Hall’s volley that Bland back-pedalled to touch over. The Seasiders should have wrapped things up with a late two-on-one break, but the impressive Jones somehow cut out Carson’s square ball at the near post, with substitute Anthony Hume free at the back.
However, this was still an impressive win for a dominant Whitby, who played with intensity, despite their hard work of just two days earlier.
Nantwich Town: Gyollai, White, Touray, Stair, C Jones, Hall (c), Johnston (Mwasile, 60), M Bell, Peers (Mukendi, 57), Cooke, Hancock (S Jones, 69). Subs not used: Riley, Brooke.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, May, Bythway, Snaith (c), Gell, Hopson, Roberts, Carson, A Bell (Hume, 84). Subs not used: Fryatt, Robinson, Bullock, Dixon (GK).
Whitby Town Star Man: Dan McWilliams- One of many top performers, the young left-back was tidy and unrelenting, like many of his team-mates.