By Liam Ryder
Whitby Town made it through to the North Riding Senior Cup final, where they will face Pickering Town, after a thrilling 4-3 victory against Middlesbrough U23 at the Turnbull Ground.
After an opening half hour with a few chances, Middlesbrough took the lead after 36 minutes with a well taken finish from defender Niall McGoldrick, despite some slack defending from the Blues.
Despite this, Whitby’s heads didn’t drop and they were level on the stroke of half-time, with a scrappy goal eventually turned home by Mikey Roberts.
Middlesbrough thought that they had put themselves back in front immediately after through Bradley Fewster’s volley , only for the linesman’s flag to be raised.
Whitby came out of the blocks flying in the second half, and eventual hat-trick hero, Luke Bythway, edged Whitby in front with a header, following full-back Danny McWilliams’ deep corner.
Any hopes of the Blues holding their lead were halted in the 57th minute when Boro were level again, following a well taken goal by attacking midfielder Tyrone O’Neill, though Shane Bland may be disappointed that he didn’t keep the shot out after getting a strong hand to the ball.
The Seasiders kept pushing and were soon back in front when Bythway scored a tap in, getting on the end of the rebounded shot from Roberts, originally saved by Aynsley Pears.
Nine minutes later, defensive midfielder Bythway completed his hat-trick with a superb header from a deep free-kick, swung in by McWilliams.
Nerves around the Turnbull were tested when striker Fewster, got Boro back into the game with a well taken strike on the turn after 73 minutes, with again, some poor defending from the Blues, giving the striker too much time and space.
The relief around the Turnbull was evident at the final whistle, with the Shed creating a great atmosphere over the ninety minutes, with chants of “we’re on our way to the final”.
Chris Hardy’s side now have less than 48 hours to recover before making the trip to Nantwich on Saturday, but confidence will be high despite some tired legs.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, May, Bullock, Bythway (Hume 81), Gell, Hopson(c), Roberts (Fryatt 90), Carson, Bell. Subs not used: Robinson, Dixon(GK), Caulfield.
Middlesbrough U23s: Pears, Heggarty, Cook, McGoldrick, Renton, Maloney (Wilson 83), Wheatley(c), Liddle, Fewster, O’Neill (Elsdon 80), Mondal. Subs not used: Reading, Silva Torrejon, James.
Whitby Town Co-operative Man of the Match: Dale Hopson
Match sponsor: Stonehouse Bakery, Danby
Matchball sponsor: The Roman Bath Inn, York