WHITBY Town saw off Northern Counties East Premier Parkgate on Saturday to reach the second qualifying round of the FA Cup and pocket a cool £3,000, writes Andrew Snaith.
The Rotherham outfit replaced original opponents Hall Road Rangers, who were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player.
Town manager Tommy Cassidy made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 against Ashton United with Jake Faichney in for Andy Campbell up front and Kev Burgess back from suspension to replace fractured collar bone victim Billy Blackford.
The visitors started strongly, keen to press home their two-level advantage as Faichney and Dave McTiernan forced good low parries from James Jenkinson, inside the opening three minutes.
At the other end, Ashley Worsfold almost chipped Dave Campbell from distance, but instead, the diagonal lob dropped inches wide of the keeper’s left-hand post.
So it was with some relief that the Blues went ahead on 17 minutes. McTiernan turned provider, getting to the byline before pulling back for Sam Hodgson to drive low past Jenkinson from the edge of the box.
But the South Yorkshire side, who enjoyed an 8-1 demolition of Barton Old Boys seven days earlier, came close when Campbell was beaten in the air on the edge of his area and Robinson had to hook from his own goal-line.
Town then had a golden chance to double their advantage. Matty Tymon raced clear, but instead of shooting for goal himself, the 21-year-old squared for an offside Faichney to sidefoot home at the far post and the effort was disallowed.
The dangerous Callum Martin cut in from the right flank on the half hour, before lashing just wide of Jenkinson’s left-hand post from 18 yards.
At the other end, Chris Wood nodded narrowly over the top from a deep cross, while a Martin delivery from the left was nodded straight at Jenkinson by Tymon.
Vitally, within moments, Whitby grabbed a second just before half-time. The impressive McTiernan shifted the ball onto his left foot before drilling past Jenkinson for this third goal in four games, from a similiar range as Hodgson’s earlier strike.
And Town should have been out of sight 11 minutes into the second half, but Robinson could only head weakly into the hands of a grateful Jenkinson from Martin’s cross.
Whitby weren’t having things entirely their own way. When Worsfold broke, Campbell had to race off his line to clutch at the young striker’s feet, however a foul on Hassan in the build-up made the keeper’s quick thinking unnecessary.
Martin continued to torment Doug Shelley’s men and left-back Gareth Clayton in particular, crossing for Tymon to force Jenkinson into yet another save, on the hour mark.
McTiernan then brought a fine reflex tip-over from the teenage Parkgate keeper, before Cassidy replaced Tymon with ex-Middlesbrough marksman Campbell.
Another forward, Matthew Dunford - signed from Northern League Ryton and Crawcrook Albion in midweek, came on for Faichney, but the action was at the Whitby end as the hosts pulled a goal back, with 13 minutes left.
Not for the first time this season, Town were caught out by a simple ball across the box, this time from the right, and Wood popped up to head the Steelmen back into the game.
The away side were nervous but put the result beyond doubt a long six minutes later. Martin’s driven right-wing ball was slid goalwards by Dunford and narrowly crept over the line before the Parkgate rearguard could clear.
At 3-1 up and in the final seconds, Town started to relax and right-back Darren Williams overlapped before driving across goal with Jenkinson again having to react well to prevent the ball sneaking into the bottom-left corner.
The tireless McTiernan left the field to a deserved ovation from the travelling 60-plus Whitby followers. His replacement, Rob McDermid, was making a competitive debut for the Seasiders and should’ve emulated Dunford after being played in on goal within seconds.
The 25-year-old marksman received the perfect through-ball, but a heavy first touch enabled Jenkinson to collect.
After the match, Cassidy told the Whitby Gazette: “A lot of people thought it would be easy playing a team two divisions below. It wasn’t easy, but I thought we deserved to win the game - we created lots of chances.
“The whole back four and Cam did great and if you’d offered me 3-1 before the game, I’d have taken it.
“To get through to the next round of the FA Cup is brilliant and I hope we get a home draw.”
Cassidy is also keen that Town fans are aware of his long-term view for the Blues.
“I need supporters to know that we’re building a club by getting young lads in now, so that by next season, they’re bedded in and ready to go as senior players.”
Cassidy feels all his developing squad have potential and revealed: “That’s the way we’ve always done it, get in six or seven young, enthusiastic players as the core of the team. They’ll need time to gel but that’s the idea and I’d like the supporters to know that.
“Hopefully we’ll have a couple more in, maybe a centre forward and a midfielder - it’s not definite yet, but it looks very good.”
Whitby Town: D Campbell, Williams, Leeson, Hassan, Burgess, Hodgson, Martin, McTiernan (McDermid 90), Faichney (Dunford 76), Tymon (A Campbell 68), Robinson (c). Sub not used: Courtney. Attendance: 116
Parkgate 1 Whitby Town 3