The Northern Premier League’s draw specialists Whitby Town were again held, after three goal-line clearances from seventh-placed Marine, on Saturday.
Town player-manager Darren Williams made two changes from the side that lost 4-3 at Nantwich a week before and decided to take matters into his own hands. The ex-Sunderland star brought himself into midfield, as Dave McTiernan began a three-match suspension, while Adam Rundle replaced Nathan Mulligan.
After conceding four second-half goals last week, Williams positioned himself in front of The Blues’ back four against the play-off -chasing Merseysiders. However, most of the early action took place at the other end as Graeme Armstrong headed onto the roof of the Mariners’ net, Lee Mason poked wide from 12 yards and Richard Pell headed off-target in a frenetic first seven minutes. Rundle then forced keeper Callum Williams to fend away his neat turn-and-shot.
Despite Town’s early onslaught, it was Marine who should’ve led when Jamie Rainford found himself one-on-one with Shane Bland, but poked horridly straight at the teenage gloveman. Armstrong then fired against an opponents’ arm on the edge of the area, but nothing was given as Mason volleyed the loose ball inches over the crossbar.
Town came close on the half hour as Armstrong’s angled drive was deflected past Williams’ right-hand post as Steven Snaith slid in. The resulting corner was then met strongly by Pell’s head, only for Shaun Dowling to clear off his own goal-line. Mason then looked to have done the hard work after expertly beating four defenders, but then side-footed wide. The second half opened with a quick Marine break down the Whitby left and the ball was squared for Rainford to force a Bland parry, the loose ball struck Jones in the head but fortunately bounced over the bar. At the other end, Snaith just missed out with a scorching 20-yarder, before the Blues had two more headers cleared off the line in as many minutes, First Rundle saw his far post shot charged down and shifted behind, then from the resulting corner, Pell was again denied. Williams introduced Mulligan in an attacking change, but the Mariners ended the stronger. Bland saved from Ian Latham and fellow sub Karl Noon somehow scuffed wide from 12 yards when one-on-one with Bland.
Whitby Town: Bland, Hassan, Robinson (c), Bullock, Pell, Williams (Mulligan 64), Henry, Mason, Armstrong, Snaith (Farrell 69), Rundle (Evans 82). Subs not used: Campbell (GK), Portas.
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Shane Henry
Match Sponsor: Abbey Scaffolding, Sleights
Matchball Sponsor: Sabic UK