Whitby Town 1 Hartlepool United 1
Whitby Town’s pre-season schedule began in promising style as they gave League Two Hartlepool a real run for their money last night. In front of an encouraging gate of 358, the Blues began this now-traditional clash in ideal fashion.
New striker Mikey Roberts, just signed from Spennymoor, took just 12 minutes to open his account for the Blues, latching on to a neat through ball and firing a composed, confident finish past keeper Adam Bartlett.
Within 60 seconds, Rakish Bingham scraped the paintwork of the far post with a low drive. Whitby’s slick pass and move game was impressing the fans, The Blues could have doubled their lead midway through the first half when James Riseborough’s darting run was picked out.
The ball was crying out to be thundered at goal first time but he took one too many touches and the danger was cleared.
Whitby went into the break fully deserving of their lead.
The start of the second period saw both sides change virtually their whole line-ups – nothing new in pre-season although confusing for spectators and the media alike.
Pools’ Connor Smith had a great chance to level only three minutes in to the half, beating two men in blue but pulling his right-footed shot across the face of goal.
The pressure on the hosts began to build and Bland was saved by the bar after Brad Walker’s shot took a huge deflection. From the corner, however, the visitors were level as Rhys Oates outjumped Bland to nod home with 20 minutes remaining.
Only a fantastic slide tackle from Whitby sub Liam Shepherd kept the sides on equal terms, as he denied Jake Carroll what looked a certain goal.
Bland then came to the rescue, reacting sharply to block Smith’s drive with his legs.
Whitby managed a few late forays forward without troubling the Hartlepool goal but their overall performance pleased boss Darren Williams.
“I was very pleased with the performance and shape,” he told the Whitby Gazette.
“We looked in good shape for our first game against a professional team in their third game.”
Whitby Town: Bland, Hagman, Robinson (c), Hassan, Bullock, McTiernan, Riseborough, Gell, Blackburn, Roberts, Gardner. Subs: Poole, Mason, Keogh, Gardner, Braithwaite, Shepherd, Raby, Waters, Brown, Hall.