WHITBY Town skipper Mark Robinson will be hoping for more good fortune when Stafford Rangers visit on Saturday (7 April) after netting a bizarre brace in the first meeting of the teams, writes Andrew Snaith.
With just two points separating five clubs at the foot of the Evo-Stik Premier, third-bottom Blues can climb four places to 16th with just one victory.
Robinson would love a repeat of his early penalty and surreal second-half strike, at Stafford’s Marston Road in August.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “It was a bit of a crazy game down at their place. We had a lot of the ball first half, then we got a penalty I managed to score.”
Greg Clowes’ men got back on level terms at 2-2, before young replacement goalkeeper Jordan Wood was pulled up for holding onto the ball too long, as Robinson explains: “We’d been awarded a free kick and their goalkeeper handed the ball straight to Andy Campbell, who just put it down and passed it to me and I put the ball into an empty net.
“It was really good, quick thinking. I’ve never been involved in a game where that happened, but I’ve seen it a few times on TV.
“I think if it’d been in the Championship, or the Premiership, we’d have been seeing it week in week out, or on A Question Of Sport.”
Rangers, who were relegated from the Blue Square North last season, sit 10 points ahead of the Blues, in 11th and have the best away record outside the top seven.
Their seven wins from 18 outings couldn’t be improved on Wednesday, however, as a scheduled clash at Town’s relegation rivals Buxton was called off, after heavy snow.
Meanwhile, a 1-1 draw last weekend saw Stafford relegate another struggling side in Burscough, seven days after losing at North Ferriby United, who provide Monday’s opposition for the Blues.
Midfielder Jimmy Beadle is desperate to make the starting line-up for both ties, after spending the last four matches on the subs’ bench.
Beadle smashed six goals in as many games when returning to the Blues, via Bradford, following a summer playing in Sweden.
The 23-year-old admits he hasn’t had a significant break from football for almost two years.
“It’s topped 100 games now and, to be honest, it’s not been the worst thing in the world coming off the bench.
“As long as we win, I’m not bothered.
“I’m not having to mentally prepare myself for starting a game, so I’m raring to go again now.
“It’s a strange one, as I have played in the last three games - on Saturday I played 60 minutes.”
Beadle helped Swedish sixth division outfit Ytterhogdal IK to promotion, before initially returning to Evo-Stik football with Bradford Park Avenue.
He conceded all the matches have had an effect, revealing: “It’s taken some of the enjoyment out of football, which is what motivates me in life.
“The last couple of games in Sweden we had to win, to win the title and with Whitby, you go into every game knowing you have to battle, so it has taken its toll.”
Physio Kenny Bolton is confident striker Jamie Clarke (38), who Beadle replaced at Chester, will recover from a muscle spasm in his back for what will be two tough games in 48 hours - the Blues go to Ferriby on Easter Monday.
Ferriby, so often the Blues’ bogey side in recent years, have had the upper hand in two of the three meetings with their old Vase adversaries this season.
While Whitby edged past them in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup, helped by Jake Faichney’s winner, United took revenge in the League Cup and with a 2-0 Boxing Day victory at the Turnbull.
Based in the shadow of the Humber Bridge, Ferriby famously lost out 3-0 to the Blues at Wembley Stadium, but have a good chance of silverware themselves, after reaching the League Cup Final.
They take on Rushall Olympic at Eastwood Town, before the end of the month, following five wins, in all competitions, during March.
The 10th-placed outfit have been helped by all-time leading scorer Gary Bradshaw’s goals this season and Beadle is keen to increase his own tally this weekend.
“I really want to start the game on Saturday”, he states.
“I haven’t scored for quite a few games now, I need to start adding to it I think.”
Kick-off on Saturday and Monday is 3pm, with admission at the Turnbull Ground still just £8 adults. £5 concessions and £2 under 16s, while Ferriby charge £9 and £5 to access their Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
A supporters’ bus to Ferriby leaves the club house at 11.15am. There is a quiz at the club house on Wednesday at 8pm.