Blues needed an injury-time Kieran Weledji header to secure a point after visitors Coalville converted a disputed penalty, that sent Chris Hardy’s men out of the Evo-Stik NPL’s top five, last Saturday.
Hardy made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 against Stafford Rangers, four days earlier. Matty Tymon returned up front, after a three-match-ban, in place of ligament injury victim Davy Carson, while centre-half Lee Bullock returned to a non-playing dugout role, making way for Andrew May.
Four minutes in, Kyle Bryant went down in the box, as the ball spun away, before Luke Bythway’s rash sliding challenge, but referee Lindsey Robinson, who sparked requests to the crowd for a back-up official, after suffering a pre-match injury, saw no issues. A quiet first half was punctuated by a free-kick causing the woodwork to be struck by either side. On 11 minutes, recent signing Anthony Bell was taken out by Dean Freeman, with Robinson allowing a temporary advantage, before blowing for a free-kick after Dan McWilliams collected the loose ball, but found himself blocked off. Whitby’s 26-goal top scorer Dale Hopson curled the resulting set-piece across goal from the left-edge of the box, beating goalkeeper Matthew Coton, but not his crossbar. Throughout the contest, drizzle and a previously-dry pitch made for challenging conditions that both sides struggled with as passes frequently went astray.
Around the half hour came the Leicestershire side’s reply to Hopson’s effort, as Jack McMillan’s inswinging set piece, from the right-edge of the box, was nodded against the upright by Freeman, at the back post. As has been the case numerous times this season, the Seasiders enjoyed their best spell late in the first half. On 36 minutes, Tymon laid off for Mikey Roberts to slice narrowly wide. Moments later, Coton almost let Hopson’s chest-high potshot through his hands, before recovering at the second attempt. Snaith then lofted a left-wing cross from the byline for Tymon to nod over at the back post.
The second half also started slowly but Malachi Lavelle-Moore should have put Coalville ahead, after the hour, May shinned a long ball into his path, but after rounding keeper Shane Bland, the big striker took the ball too wide on the left and the home defence recovered. Ravens manager Tommy Brookbanks introduced Rory Coleman, who smashed in a memorable 35-yard strike, for former club Ilkeston, against the Blues, at the Turnbull, early in the season. Eleven minutes from time, the away side were handed a spot kick when challenges flew in on the edge of the box, then Bryant finally went down, just inside the area, falling on the ball, from what looked little contact from Bythway. Robinson was forced to make a decision and awarded a penalty which Coleman lifted into the top-left corner.
Coalville, promoted through the First Division South play-offs, last season, continued to stand firm, on well-organised foundations, a big step up from their 3-2 home loss to Whitby, who went route-one late on. Hardy threw on Anthony Hume for Roberts and Weledji went into defence so the versatile Bythway could charge up front. Another attacking option, Kyle Fryatt, took Tymon’s strike spot to provide a skilful foil for the powerful pair alongside him. Hume nodded inches wide before winning a free-kick as he backed into Freeman, who went over him to win a high ball. Hopson lifted the resulting set piece high into the box where it spiralled up off Bell’s head and Weledji was adjudged to have won the resulting six-yard aerial scramble to beat the punching Coton, three minutes into added time.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams (Weledji 80), May, Bythway, Gell, Snaith (c), Hopson, Roberts (Hume 74), Tymon (Fryatt 80), Bell. Subs not used: Dixon (GK), Robinson.
Coalville Town: Coton, Bryant, Torr, Jenno, Freeman, Brown, Marshall (Dean 80), Towers (c), McDonald, Lavelle-Moore (Antonio 80), McMillan (Coleman 74). Subs not used: Walshe, Bowles (GK).
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Steven Snaith- The skipper put in his usual battling performance, in front of the Blues’ back four, with the ever-reliable Adam Gell.
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