Both sides began and ended this game in contention for a play-off place after an entertaining clash, at the Turnbull Ground, on Easter Saturday.
Whitby Town chief Chris Hardy picked an unchanged side after the last-gasp 1-0 victory, at Mickleover Sports, four days earlier, keen to extend a ten-match unbeaten run.
The Seasiders’ penultimate home clash was designated as the club’s annual Pay What You Want clash and nearly 500 packed into the Turnbull Ground to see if the in-form Blues could continue their run.
The Blues began the contest in fifth spot- the last play-off place in the Evo-Stik NPL, but it was the visitors who drew first blood, on ten minutes. Dylan Vassallo’s deep, inswinging free-kick from the right-edge of the box, found Dan Hattersley to nod between Shane Bland and his right-hand post. It was a quiet first half with both sides struggling to sustain possession and push their opponents back for any lengthy period of time.
The Cheshire visitors, promoted from the Evo-Stik First Division South, last season, limited the Seasiders to long balls easily dealt with a powerful defence led by skipper James McCarthy. Late in the first half came Whitby’s only real opportunity of the opening period. Dale Hopson’s goal-bound free-kick was blocked on the line by a combination of towering centre-half McCarthy and goalkeeper Anthony McMillan to preserve the visitors’ advantage.
The second period began in frenetic fashion as the lively Vassallo went clear from six yards, clipping across goal but against Bland’s left-hand post with the outside of his right boot. Within four minutes, Whitby were level when Hopson’s solo run saw him race in off the left flank and show superb composure to beat three players before placing into the top-right corner of the net from 12 yards.
However, Warrington roared back into the lead just three minutes later. Good work from Michael Bakare set up Hattersley to bicycle kick through Bland’s legs from close range. The two-goal hero only started the match after original number nine Reuban Jerome had car trouble on the way to North Yorkshire.
Big Anthony Hume’s introduction for the hosts, midway through the second half, made a difference as Whitby looked to match the away side’s solid backline. Within seconds he poked against McMillan’s chest as he charged down a long clearance, with Adam Gell’s lob from the loose ball nodded off the line amid a desperate scramble. Twelve minutes from time, Whitby pressure did tell as Hopson chipped McMillan, striking the upright, only for Matty Tymon to follow in and fire into the bottom-right corner, point-blank. Late on, Bland cleared with his feet from the combative Scott Bakkor, as Warrington looked dangerous on the break led by the pacey Vassallo.
Kieran Weledji, again playing in an attacking midfield role, broke from the right edge of the Warrington box and fired straight at McMillan from a great position and Hopson saw an angled drive deflected wide deep into five minutes injury time.
However, a draw seemed a fair outcome in a tremendous clash that left both sides in the shake-up ahead of a pivotal Easter Monday programme.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, Bell, May, Bullock, Gell, Snaith (c), Hopson, Roberts (Hume 67), Tymon, Weledji. Subs not used: Robinson, Dixon (GK), Fryatt, Anderson.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Askew (Monaghan 84), Williams (Cardon 36), McCarthy (c), Gumbs, Vassallo, Smart, Hattersley, Bakkor, Bakare (Harries 64). Subs not used: Codling, Shaw.
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Dale Hopson- Scored one and set up the other to show his worth this season