WHITBY Town took the scalp of higher-ranked Conference North Eastwood on Saturday as Tommy Cassidy’s men completed their pre-season with a fourth win from seven games, writes Andrew Snaith.
Cassidy decided to have another look at right-back Tom Marron, who shrugged off a knee injury to replace Ashley Lyth.
Whitby looked much brighter from the start with skipper Mark Robinson’s powerful effort deflected inches over the bar from 20 yards.
Moments later, Dave McTiernan repeated the dose, seeing his effort on the turn flick a defender and fly just too high to trouble James Seven in the Eastwood goal.
McTiernan then saw another shot on the turn blocked on the goal-line as the Blues made a mockery of the one-division gap between the teams.
At the other end, Jason Bradley looked offside when collecting a long ball but one on one with Whitby’s keeper Matt Calvert, the forward’s leaden touch enabled Calvert to dive in and collect.
And it then proved third time lucky for McTiernan on 20 minutes as the ex-Newcastle Blue Star winger caught Andy Campbell’s right-wing cross beautifully to hook, first-time, over Seven from 20 yards and into the net.
At the other end, Calvert almost suffered with the wet ball as rain lashed the Turnbull Ground, with the youngster finally grasping the ball low down, in a crowded area, at the third attempt, after losing it from a standing start.
In a match delayed 15 minutes by the visitors’ tardy run through nearby Pickering’s Traction Engine rally, ex-Burton Albion marksman Morris then turned provider, his deep cross from the right picked out Dan Elliott, whose controlled volley was easy for Calvert to catch from the edge of the box.
Cassidy swapped his keepers at the break, as Tom Courtney shrugged off a groin strain to replace Calvert.
Kev Burgess, up from the back, should have done better but could only head Campbell’s looping centre over the top from point blank range, three minutes into the second half.
The Blues made a raft of changes after the break, with Lyth replacing Marron in a straight swap on 55 minutes and, at the same time, skipper Robinson dropped to left back as Alex White made way for left-winger Billy Blackford.
As the away side, who finished fourth in the Blue Square North last season, finally began to threaten, Craig Armstrong slammed wide on the turn and Robinson tracked back well to thwart Morris with a last-ditch slide tackle just inside the area.
The Blues’ alterations continued to come thick and fast with Jake Faichney on for Andy Campbell and Matty Tymon, previously on loan from Hartlepool United two years ago, replacing Rob McDermid.
But most of the action was taking place at the other end and, within seconds, a well-worked move down the left culminated in half-time sub Ben Fairclough somehow slicing the ball wide from close range.
Cassidy then tinkered with his midfield as McTiernan, Callum Martin and former Sunderland star Darren Williams, on his home debut, made way for Andy Leeson, Sam Hodgson and Marc Ellison within the space of four minutes.
However, it was the Nottinghamshire outfit who made the most important change, that of the score, on 81 minutes.
Any number of players could’ve been given offside by the corner flag on the left, but play continued and the ball was driven across the face of the Whitby goal for Fairclough to poke into a largely unguarded net.
Both sides came close towards the end, Tymon almost did it all on his own, slaloming through a couple of players before seeing his shot from distance blocked, while Jared Westcarr, also on late in the game, fired a low skiddy drive, that Courtney watched and held well in the end.
But Tymon certainly picked his moment, settling the game on 90 minutes. The ball was stood up to him at the far post, and the second-half substitute nodded the ball over Seven and into the top right corner.
After the match, Cassidy said: “I thought we did very well at times.
“It was up and down with lots of changes but it’s nice to get the win.
“A lot of players showed ability and I thought we deserved to win the game. They didn’t have many chances.”
Cassidy revealed Tymon, previously with Northern League West Auckland after being released from Hartlepool last year, would be signing and hoped Williams would follow suit this week.
He added: “This is the basis of next week’s side, but with maybe one or two changes.”
The Blues kick off their Evo-Stik Northern Premier League season this Saturday with a trip to West Midlands outfit Chasetown.
Whitby Town: Calvert (Courtney 46), Marron (Lyth 55), White (Blackford 55), Hassan, Burgess, McTiernan (Leeson 66), Martin (Hodgson 66), Williams (Ellison 70), McDermid (Tymon 63), A Campbell (Faichney 63), Robinson (c).