This top-four battle saw the Seasiders leapfrog their rivals into second spot, with visitors Buxton finishing with nine men, in a bad-tempered affair, at the Turnbull Ground.
Blues boss Chris Hardy made one change as forward Matty Tymon was recalled in place of midfielder Dave McTiernan, otherwise it was the same side that lost 2-0 at Halesowen, seven days earlier.
After a bright run, inside two minutes, recent signing Davy Carson fired across the face and well wide, from 20 yards, for Whitby, but it was The Bucks who found themselves ahead, ten minutes later. Shane Bland slipped controlling Kieran Weledji’s backpass and Liam Hardy snuck in to tackle the keeper and slot into the empty bottom-right corner of the net, from six yards.
Whitby rallied, however and levelled when Tymon was pulled down by Danny Burns as he tried to receive Steven Snaith’s cross from the left-edge of the box. Dale Hopson stepped up and confidently converted the resulting penalty for his 19th goal of the season, while Burns earned a yellow card from referee Dean Hulme. At the other end, a misplaced Bland clearance was collected by Buxton’s ex-Blue Niall Doran, who twisted and turned on the right-edge of the Whitby box before forcing Bland to block a low drive, on the line, with an outstretched left leg.
Burns was then equally well-placed to clear Snaith’s scuffed shot off the Buxton line, on the half hour, after Callum Martin robbed left-back Jamie Green on the byline, before cutting back for his skipper. Undeterred, Snaith finished rather better, on 39 minutes, to take his side into the break ahead. Forcing his way in on the left edge again, he ran onto Dan McWilliams’ pass and somehow powered low across Danish goalkeeper Jan Budtz, from an acute angle, and into the bottom-right corner. At the other end, Burns powered home a header, unchallenged, only for what looked a fortunate offside flag to intervene. A minute before half time, Doran then shovelled a low edge-of-the-box effort wide of Bland’s left-hand post.
Buxton boss Martin Mackintosh was pro-active at the interval, replacing left-winger Alastair Taylor and powerfully-built attacking midfielder Luke Hinsley with Joe McGee and Nic Travis in the middle of the park. Early in the second half, a longball was nodded down for Hardy to slide over from eight yards, while Luke Bythway turned straight at Budtz after staying up following a corner.
Two huge turning points arrived within four minutes of each other, with two quickfire Buxton red cards. First Burns, who had twice fouled Snaith, early in the second period, was booked again for blocking off Carson on halfway, then substitute Travis was dismissed for needlessly jumping into Adam Gell and setting off a twelve-man shoving match. Unsurprisingly, Whitby found a lot more space and Martin missed a good opportunity when he sliced across the face of goal, from the right-edge of the 18-yard box with the hosts 3 on 3 against the backtracking Bucks’ defence.
Despite their two-man disadvantage, Buxton were back level, eleven minutes from time, when Brad Abbott’s 20-yarder was deflected wide and Hardy’s downward header beat Bland in a crowded Blues box, from the resulting corner, with Green crossing for a second time to find the on-loan striker’s head. Blues pushed the accelerator and won a series of corners themselves, with one of them proving pivotal, with seven minutes left. Martin’s deep right-wing cross was recovered by Snaith who clipped back across goal for Weledji to slide home, from on the ground, after his initial falling shot came back off his marker.
By now, Mackintosh had replaced Hardy with lively ex-Worksop forward Jamie Jackson and he squandered a golden opportunity, with five minutes remaining, after breaking clear but smashing high and wide from the left-edge of the box. The Seasiders then wrapped it up, two minutes from time, as Tymon exchanged passes with Hopson before slotting past Budtz point-blank for 4-2.
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Danny McWilliams- Composed at the back and quick to get forward on the left, providing great support for the likes of Hopson, Snaith and Tymon.
Match Sponsor: Bay Hotel, Robin Hood’s Bay
Matchball Sponsor: Riverside Fisheries, Whitby
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, Weledji, Bythway, Robinson, Gell, Hopson (Fryatt 90), Snaith (c), Tymon (Hume 90), Carson. Subs not used: McTiernan, Dixon (GK), Bullock.
Buxton: Budtz, Bembo-Leta, Green, Ravenhill, Burns, Young (c), Doran, Abbott, Hinsley (Travis 46), Hardy (Jackson 81), Taylor (McGee 46). Subs not used: Walker, Williams.