Whitby Town defender hails rare screamer

Whitby Town defender Ibby Hassan thought his stunning 30-yard opener, in the 4-0 win over Stafford Rangers last night, was heading out to sea, the goal-shy full-back has revealed.

Hassan netted a spectacular first goal of the season but admitted: “I thought the ball boy was going to have to fish it out of the sea.

“The conditions were blustery, to say the least.

“I chopped inside - I thought I might as well give it a go. It stayed on course and found the bin.”

The modest Tynesider (25), who described his last goal at Ashton, last November, as “a shank into the bottom corner”, added: “In the first half, we had to be diligent.

“We were pretty much cast in our own half. Kev [Burgess] and Al [White] were tremendous, they won everything in the air and Nick [Liversedge], with some of his kicking - just to get out of his half was hard enough.”

“It’s blowing a gale, you’ve got to get off work early and get down to the Turnbull.

“You just want to play and to rectify issues from the previous game.

“We didn’t perform like we can, against Hednesford, we didn’t do ourselves justice.

“We had something to prove to ourselves and the fans. We had to put in a performance and we have done.”

Player-manager Darren Williams wasn’t as surprised as Hassan with the finish fans are dubbing ‘the goal of the season’.

“He was doing what he’s been doing all season”, said Williams.

“He drives into space, it opens up for him, it’s a fantastic strike.

“He’s been a breath of fresh air, since he went to rightback. He’s come to life, I think he’s grown into the role and grown in confidence with every game.”

The popular defender put the Blues ahead on 64 minutes, at a stormy Turnbull Ground, after the Seasiders battled against the wind for 45 minutes, with Graeme Armstrong coming close early on.

Craig Farrell, back after his groin injury, tapped home his 16th goal since joining from Blyth Spartans, with 12 minutes left before Mulligan notched his 18th of the campaign, seven minutes from time.

Then, Town really made up for the weekend defeat at Hednesford, by enjoying a 4-0 victory of their own as Tom Portas notched in the dying stages, following a trademark dart from deep.

It was the Blues’ biggest win of the campaign and sets them up nicely for home games with Eastwood, on Saturday and Ilkeston, next Wednesday.

Whitby Town: Liversedge, Hassan (Purewal 86), Robinson(c), Burgess, White (James 84), McTiernan, Portas, Henry, Farrell (Snaith 85), Armstrong, Mulligan. Subs not used: Williams, Campbell(GK). Attendance: 174