The Blues stand on cloud NINE after Tuesday’s victory meant the unbeaten run continues.
For the fifth successive game, manager Chris Hardy picked the same eleven and that continued understanding almost bore fruit as Danny McWilliams stole in on the left and stung the palms of Ross Durrant with a low near-post drive.
Midfielder and current top scorer Dale Hopson then scuffed wide with a skidding effort of his own before last term’s 24-goal hotshot Mikey Roberts made Durrant block with his legs from another tough angle after being forced wide by Matt Baker.
Hopson was then denied after racing onto a brilliant through ball by Luke Bythway and suffering an equally-brilliant last-ditch slide tackle from Jaylou Bather. But the birthday boy had just seconds to wait before the deadlock was broken. Dan McWilliams slid in to reclaim possession on the edge of the box and Hopson slotted the loose ball into the bottom-right corner of the net.
However, Ilkeston drew level with their first shot on goal, three minutes later. Left-back Rory Coleman unleashed a 25-yard free-kick into the top-right corner that gave Shane Bland no chance at all after Ste Snaith’s foul. Roberts fired well wide from a near-impossible angle and at the other end, Bland caught another Coleman piledriver, this time from 30 yards and had to scramble to his right to parry Mark Shelton’s low, diagonal effort. But it was the Seasiders who regained the lead, seconds before half-time. McWilliams’ driven left-wing cross was turned home beautifully, at the back post, using the pace of the ball, by Matty Tymon, for his fifth goal in four games.
The visitors from Derbyshire, playing only their fourth game of the season, after their early suspension, began the second half in impressive fashion. Town were pushed back and four minutes in, Anthony Dwyer should have done better than the tame low effort Bland saved comfortably, following an excellent forward move. Two minutes later and Bland did well to tip over another superb Coleman free-kick that was dipping under the crossbar after being bent in from the right touchline. The Robins made two quickfire changes and were agonisingly close on the hour when Bland got a finger tip on Dwyer’s goal-bound drive to touch it onto left-hand post and bar.
Whitby then finished well and when Martin crossed well from the right and Snaith headed down, Tymon threw a left leg at the loose ball, eight yards out, screwing wide when he should have netted. Roberts then looked to have finally ended his difficult run, 13 minutes from time, when left one on one with Durrant. The gloveman blocked with his legs once, Roberts composed himself, then saw another near post shot saved in identical fashion. However, the Blues held out anyway for a hard-earned three points in a terrific game of football.
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Callum Martin
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, Weledji, Bythway, May, Gell, Hopson, Roberts (Round 85), Tymon, Snaith (c). Subs not used: Dawson (GK), Robinson, McTiernan, Park.
Ilkeston: Durrant, Kenworthy, Coleman (Owen 68), Gordon (Dolan 60), Baker (c), Bather, Rose, Shelton, Dwyer, Jones (Morris 56), Goddard. Subs not used: Walters, Head.
Match Sponsor: Miller’s Amusements of Pier Road, Whitby
Matchball Sponsor: Abbey Gas Plumbing and Heating of Mayfield Road, Whitby
Mascot Sponsor: Yorkshire Coast Radio