The Blues’ unbeaten home run continues despite being pushed back for the whole second half by a talented Workington side, on Tuesday night.
Manager Chris Hardy made one change from the team that lost 3-0 at leaders Buxton, on Saturday. In came striker Mikey Roberts as Curtis Round dropped to the bench.
Town began brightly and it was Roberts himself who came close, on seven minutes, firing wide from distance. The Whitby number nine’s opposite number, big Nathan Waterston then did likewise, from an acute angle, before the visitors caused all sorts of problems in a real scramble. It was a left-wing corner met with a neat near-post stooping header from Scott Allison and Joe McGee turned goalwards for Dan McWilliams to nod off the Whitby goal line and Shane Bland to save with his legs from Matt Douglas.
The Workington pressure continued and Bland was forced to punch away with two hands from a testing free-kick and dived forward to smother Allison’s determined run and powerful low shot. Whitby slowly started to find their feet and Kieran Weledji flashed an inviting ball across the face of goal, from the right wing, after powering forward from his own half, forcing goalkeeper Aaran Taylor to tip away low to his right. The Blues then won a free-kick near the left touchline, some 20 yards from goal, around the half hour. Dale Hopson swung the ball, right-footed, to the near post where centre-half Luke Bythway nodded a downward header into the bottom-left corner of the net. The Seasiders should have doubled their lead, within five minutes, as a slick move saw Roberts release Weledji whose pinpoint right-wing cross was headed towards the roof of the net by Matty Tymon, only for Taylor to brilliantly push over the crossbar, point-blank.
“Regardless of saves, we should be two up at that stage and maybe a bit more comfortable.” Hardy told whitby-town.com.
Workington rallied and Wilson’s ferocious 25-yard drive struck team-mate McGee, while successive corners culminated in Allison’s low shot passing Bland’s right-hand post, with the Blues gloveman just about covering. For the Blues, Roberts misdirected a diving header from six yards.
The second half saw the away side really press the accelerator and their hosts. Wilson saw his snapshot slid clear by Bythway, while at the other end, Taylor had to backtrack before claiming Hopson’s ambitious 30-yard chip. Workington came agonisingly close to levelling, seven minutes into the restart. The lively Conor Tinnion ended a bright run by clipping the top left corner of the bar, from 18 yards, Bland punched away the rebound and two quickfire follow ups were charged down on the right-edge of the penalty area.
Tinnion saw another effort blocked by the brave Blues backline, now sat right on the edge of the box. McGee sent yet another strike from distance inches wide of Bland’s left-hand post. Workington were causing problems down the left flank and finally levelled, after good work from Tinnion, with a David Symington cross from that side, which was slid home, at the near post, six yards out, by Waterston.
The Reds pushed on but continued to fire wildly from 20 yards, testing the Turnbull Ground’s perimeter fencing and the windows of surrounding properties, as much as Bland’s goal. Hopson, Town’s top scorer, from midfield, so far, limped off, eight minutes from time- Round took his playmaker role. But the Workington threat still loomed large and twice Allison headed wide, when well placed, from left wing crosses, before going down theatrically as Bythway dispossessed him in the penalty area. The Cumbrians will be left wondering how they only picked up a single point as Whitby looked leggy, particularly after the break, but held out for a hard-fought point which keeps them fourth and unbeaten at home, this season.
“We were looking for a better reaction in the second half and looking to go on and find gears, much as we did quite well first half, but I think it was down to Workington, they applied themselves well.” Hardy admitted.
“At times, we struggled to deal with it. They moved the ball around well, showed good energy and determination.
“Come the final whistle, there was a bit of relief we didn’t drop all the points.” he revealed.
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Luke Bythway- Impressed at both ends, with his goal and brave defensive battling, he was in good company at the back too.
Whitby Town: Bland, Weledji, McWilliams, May, Bythway, Robinson (c), Gell, McTiernan, Roberts, Tymon, Hopson (Round 82). Subs not used: Park, Hume, Bullock, Dawson (GK).
Workington: Taylor, Simpson, Symington, Smith, Douglas, Wilson, Allison, McGee, Waterston, Newby, Tinnion. Subs not used: Hebson, Ferguson, Calvert.
Match Sponsor: JD Roach Builders, Whitby
Matchball Sponsor: Goathland Hotel
Mascot Sponsor: Yorkshire Coast Radio