Whitby Town played out an even ninety minutes on Saturday and earned a valuable point against Rushall Olympic. Paul Connolly takes us through five things we learned from the draw.
1) Lee Bullock can still do ninety minutes at Evo-Stik NPL level
The Blues’ player-assistant manager made his first league start for the Seasiders this season, and his first for the club in two months.
Bullock’s last start came in the North Riding Senior Cup against York City- a match that had a lower tempo than that of the Rushall clash.
On an even more positive note, Bullock came through the ninety minutes unscathed, and was awarded the man of the match award by his manager, post-match.
With such a solid performance alongside Andrew May, Bully gives Chris Hardy another viable option for the heart of his defence, and another selection headache going into Tuesday night’s game against Halesowen Town.
2) Mark Robinson is developing a new role
Instead of his usual role at the heart of the defence, Mark Robinson instead took on the role of Chris Hardy’s right-hand man.
Lee Bullock’s start opened a door for Robinson to assist on the touchline, with the club captain providing the extra pair of eyes.
In recent weeks, Robinson has also taken training sessions, seeing him develop his player-coach role further, advancing his career with the club.
3) Steven Snaith will serve another ban
Snaith has now made it four separate suspensions this season, starting on Saturday against Stafford Rangers, taking his number of games missed to ten, after the Middlesbrough match.
The captain was perhaps unfortunate to have been booked as early as he was, but either way still continues to pay the price for a poor disciplinary record.
Chris Hardy confirmed in his post-match interview that Snaith will miss two games, after the Halesowen Town match.
4) The referee made himself the centre of attention
Bookings across the game almost reached double figures- with six Rushall players going into the book, and two Whitby.
Due to the volume of bookings received, Rushall Olympic will now face a £500 fine.
That all makes it sound like a rough game of football, whereas in truth, it was almost the opposite, with neither side really putting in a bad challenge across the game.
But, with a referee who seemed to want to make himself a centrepiece, it changed the game, with players looking more reluctant to get stuck in as the game progressed.
5) Stopping and defending balls into the box is imperative
Whitby’s biggest weakness at the moment comes from balls from wide areas.
Over the last few games, the majority of goals conceded have come from poor defending at the income of crosses or long throws.
The Rushall game was no different, with Craig Bannister heading home Mikael Partodikromo’s header unmarked.
Arguably, the ball shouldn’t have come into the box in the first place, and with Whitby’s centre-halves doubling up on men, keeping control of players like Bannister was a struggle.
This is an area that Chris Hardy and his team will no doubt be looking at with urgency, to ensure his side turns a single point into a maximum return.