Blues reached the North Riding Senior Cup semi finals, for the first time in eight years, after a terrific encounter with a young York side.
Over 300 supporters gathered to enjoy the competition’s return to the Turnbull Ground and were treated to an outstanding display from the Seasiders to see off the Conference’s bottom club. Manager Chris Hardy made two changes from the side that lost out by the same score at Ashton, in the Evo-Stik League, three days earlier. Assistant boss Lee Bullock and recent signing David Carson gained valuable minutes on the field, as Matty Tymon gave way with work commitments and Luke Bythway was rested due to his recurring ligament injury.
Blues started strongly and deservedly led inside five minutes. Callum Martin’s pinpoint right-wing corner was nodded home by skipper Steven Snaith, at the near post. York, who fielded a team full of players with Football League experience, including four of the five subs from their 2-2 draw at Dover Athletic, at the weekend, found it tough going. They finally threatened on 18 minutes when Daniel Nti’s shot was deflected behind and big Vadane Oliver’s close range header, from the resulting corner, was met with a terrific reaction push wide of his right-hand post by Shane Bland. At the other end, Dave McTiernan saw one shot charged down before a first-time 18-yard strike over the top from the rebound.
Eleven minutes before half-time, Callum Rzonca caught one well from the right-edge of the box, only for Bland to spring to his right and claw the ball superbly from the top-left corner. Whitby suffered a blow just before the break when Bythway was required as left wing-back Dan McWilliams limped off injured. It felt like fate though when the substitute popped up in the York six-yard box unmarked, five minutes into the second half, to guide home Martin’s inswinging left-wing corner. But just as the visiting support felt the match had slipped away, their team raced to the other end, winning a corner of their own, on the left, which was emphatically headed into the roof of the net, from close range, by Oliver. The big number nine, recently returned from a loan spell at League Two Notts County looked the Minstermen’s best chance of turning the match around and almost repeated the dose from an identical position, four minutes later, only to shave the crossbar.
Carson then showed why he’s so highly rated with a tremendous move he started and finished, on 65 minutes. Collecting the ball on halfway, the ex-Newcastle junior, spread the ball to the left flank, with the outside of his boot, for Dale Hopson to race onto and pull back for Snaith to dummy and Carson to slam into the very top-left corner from the right-edge of the City penalty area.
McTiernan and Hopson came close before Snaith hammered over from 20 yards after centre-half Luke Woodland miscontrolled. Bland was then up to his old tricks again, pushing away Nti’s rising, 20-yard free-kick. The 90th minute then saw an almighty scramble before Scott Fenwick drilled goalwards and Bland bravely smothered on a crowded goal-line. Right at the end, Oliver had one last opportunity snuffed out by the impressive Bland’s legs and Whitby were through.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams (Bythway 39), Weledji, Bullock, Robinson, Gell, McTiernan, Hopson (Roberts 87), Snaith (c), Carson. Subs not used: Fryatt, Dixon (GK), Hume.
York City: Simpson, Walton, Brettel, Galbraith (Jackson 70), Woodland, Dixon, Rzonca (Bruton 70), Fenwick, Oliver, McDaid (Rogerson 80), Nti. Subs not used: Whitley.
Match Sponsor: The Royal Hotel
Matchball Sponsor: Locker’s Trawlers
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: David Carson- Crowned his first start with a superb goal fit to win any match. Bland was also in scintillating form to ensure a fine victory.