A LAST-GASP Matty Tymon strike ended a run of just one win in 15 for Whitby Town in West Yorkshire on Monday, writes Andrew Snaith.
It was also sweet revenge after Frickley’s 95th minute equaliser denied Town all three points in the sides’ last meeting in August.
The only spanner in the works for Town boss Darren Williams and his lads were wins for basement club Burscough, fourth-bottom Stocksbridge and Mickleover Sports on the other side of the relegation line, but the Town player-boss was still delighted with the result on a testing pitch.
“I think it was a win we probably deserved. Frickley maybe dominated the second half, but I believe we dominated the first half, we hung in there and did really well,” he said.
“We knew they were going to come at us and we knew they were going to put us under pressure, because they are a difficult team to play against at home, on a surface that is favourable for them as they play on it every other week.”
Town’s late clincher was Tymon’s first goal since October and Williams thinks it could be vital, not just for the club, but for the former Hartlepool striker as well, adding: “I’m absolutely over the moon for the lad.
“He’s had so many chances over the last ever-so-many weeks and it was probably getting on top of him, but I couldn’t have wished for anyone else to score the winner for us.
“It was important for him - hopefully it’ll give him a confidence boost and get him back on track.”
The Blues were without suspended defender Ashley Lyth and wide player Jeff Smith, who was sidelined with a head injury.
Andy Leeson joined Alex White at centre-half with Ibby Hassan slotting in at right-back and left-winger Billy Blackford making a first start since sustaining a broken collar bone, nearly four months ago.
And it was the returning youngster causing problems in the first minute, beating his marker down the left before firing across the face of goal and soon after, crossing for Tom Portas to head just past the far post.
As Town continued to set the pace, Jimmy Beadle showed a nice technique to fire a 25-yard volley goalwards, on the turn, but keeper Steve Dickinson held comfortably at head height, with Blackford’s similiar effort from the edge of the box, bringing an identical result.
The hosts - in the midst of a run of four straight defeats - threatened for the first time on 14 minutes. Ollie Ryan raced clear down the Frickley left, only to fire into the side netting as Nick Liversedge came out to narrow the angle.
The action returned to the other end three minutes later, as Andy Appleby put Town ahead with only his second goal for the club, since returning in November. Mark Robinson’s deft ball over the top found its way past the outstretched leg of Lincoln Adams and Appleby sprinted onto it before cutting in from the left and slotting between Dickinson’s legs.
Kelvin Bleau threatened down the right as the home side attempted a quick reply, before Brad Grayson’s left-wing cross was scuffed straight at Liversedge by Ryan. The former Darlington keeper then denied the same player with a strong low save from a testing angled drive.
Six minutes before the break, the visitors, in all white, almost doubled their advantage. Beadle, looking for his sixth goal in seven games, got free inside the Athletic box - with Adams handling accidentally as he slid in- the Town midfielder sidefooted towards the top-right corner, where Dickinson plucked the ball out of the air with ease.
Former Colliery side Frickley should have levelled two minutes after the restart, when Grayson somehow conspired to poke wide from the six-yard box when one-on-one with Liversedge.
Moments later, Hassan executed a well-timed skidding challenge on Ryan, who managed to retain possession, but slammed over the bar.
As the assault continued, James Ashmore curled a 25-yard free-kick high and wide, before an Alex Callery corner was just about scrambled clear.
But minus the extra hands on deck, Town remained pinned in their own half and only more defensive heroics prevented Ashmore for a second time, as Hassan cleared against an opponent and had to block again, from the follow-up.
Whitby made a left-wing change soon after, as two former Hartlepool Reserves switched places - Blackford making way for Callum Martin. However, the focus remained deep in the visitors’ box where, almost inevitably, Ryan grabbed the equaliser, 14 minutes from time.
The lively forward twisted and turned 12 yards from goal, before firing across Liversedge and inside the keeper’s left-hand post.
This seemed to stir the Seasiders into a response, perhaps sensing that a draw wasn’t enough and the quiet Jamie Clarke nodded just wide at the far post, seconds later. The 38-year-old, hampered by a strapped up broken left elbow, was replaced by fellow frontman Tymon, with seven minutes remaining.
Even so, it looked as though Town would be lucky to take any more than a point back to North Yorkshire, even when they won a free-kick just outside the penalty area in the final minute. Beadle floated the ball in and there was Tymon to stab the ball home in a crowded box.
The unexpected sight of Lee Ure replacing the hard-grafting Appleby, for his 198th appearance - over seven years after his last - buoyed the nervous visiting fans before referee Mr Mellor whistled the end of the game and an important three points for an ecstatic Town.
Whitby Town: Liversedge, Hassan, Robinson(c), Leeson, White, Williams, Portas, Beadle, Clarke(Tymon 83), Appleby(Ure 90), Blackford(Martin 73).
Sub not used: D Campbell. Attendance: 273
Frickley Athletic 1 Whitby Town 2