Blues survive in style

WHITBY Town stayed up in style as two goals from Karl Charlton helped them to a 4-0 drubbing of relegation rivals Ilkeston Town at the Turnbull Ground on Saturday.

In the end, both sides stayed up as other results came to the visitors' rescue on a dramatic final afternoon in the Unibond League Premier Division.

For Whitby, keeper David Campbell and skipper Matty Appleby missed out but there was a return after three years in the Northern League for keeper Ben Escritt, centre-half Richard Forster and fit-again Steve Tobin.

And with further recalls for ex-manager Lee Nogan and the versatile Chris Scott, it was local lads Ashley Lyth and Tom Raw who dropped to the bench.

The Blues knew only a win would guarantee their Premier Division survival regardless of other results. Ilkeston, just a point better off, could afford to draw and still stay up.

Their physical approach saw the Robins create the better of the few chances on offer in an unsurprisingly cagey first 20 minutes.

So Ilkeston may count themselves unlucky to have fallen behind on 25 minutes as the hosts sent much of their highest crowd of the season into rapture.

As Whitby broke quickly, it was a beautifully weighted through ball from the experienced Nogan to pick out Charlton, who sprinted clear and slotted past goalkeeper Phil Senior.

The Blues, looking confident, upped the tempo and struck a pivotal double whammy five minutes before half-time.

Pressure down the right saw Scott's shot for goal deflected back into his path and as the midfielder nodded toward the goal, last defender Gareth Holmes stuck out a hand and palmed the ball clear.

Holmes suffered the inevitable red card and the Blues' top scorer Danny Brunskill settled Whitby nerves to fire home a record-equalling 29th goal of the season from the spot.

With the Robins reduced to 10 men, Whitby had much the better of the second period.

Charlton in particular was having an outstanding game and put the result beyond doubt just 12 minutes after the restart. The 20-year-old again used his pace to race clear and drive his 16th goal of the season past the onrushing Senior.

Six minutes later as the blue tide continued, a mazy run from Andy Burton down the left flank saw the former Billingham Town man square diagonally from the byline to the right edge of the box for Ant Ormerod to slam home a fourth goal via the underside of the bar.

Whitby looked dangerous every time they came forward with man-of-the-match Charlton coming close on several occasions to a hat-trick.

The closeness of the Unibond Premier where just five points separate 10th from 20th was apparent as Whitby leapt five places to finish in 12th spot.

On a dramatic final day, many of the travelling supporters arrived in fancy dress as is tradition for their final away fixture, adding to the surreal spectacle as 489 fans took in Whitby's biggest victory since January 2006.

Full-time: Whitby Town 4 Ilkeston Town 0

Long-time basement club Lincoln United are relegated along with Stamford and Leek Town.

Whitby: Escritt, Pallender (Lyth 76), Burgess, Tobin, Forster, Nogan (Claisse 70), Scott, Burton, Ormerod, Brunskill (T Raw 80), Charlton. Attendance: 489

Whitby Co-operative WTFC Man Of The Match: Karl Charlton; match sponsors: The Boro Boys.