Blues cruise past Frickley
In-form Whitby Town claimed a 4-0 win over struggling Frickley Athletic on Bank Holiday Monday.
Goals from Dale Hopson (2), Mikey Roberts and Curtis Round extended the Blues’ unbeaten start to the season to five games, pushing Chris Hardy’s team up into fourth place in the Evo-Stik Premier Division standings.
Roberts and Luke Bythway came into the starting XI as Hardy made two changes from Saturday’s draw at Hednesford for the visit of the division’s bottom side.
And after five losses out of five it was no surprise that Frickley conceded the game’s first real chance when Roberts went clean through on Sebastian Malkowski’s goal, but shot too close to the visiting gloveman.
That said, the opening half an hour was a fairly even affair, and largely uneventful in terms of goalmouth action.
After 33 minutes, Hopon’s low, curling free-kick from 20 yards out was turned around the post by Malkowski at full-stretch, and as the first period drew to its conclusion, the home side began to click into gear.
The Blues began to see more and more of the ball in Frickley territory, and some neat passing and slick build-up play saw them work a number of openings.
Hopson fired a couple of efforts over the top from outside the box before Matty Tymon’s looping header dropped on top of the crossbar from Danny McWilliams’ left-wing cross.
Great pace by Roberts got him on the end of a ball into the channel down the right and he managed to prod goalwards from just inside the penalty area but Malkowski was off his line quickly and blocked with his body.
Seconds bedore the half-time whistle Malkowski denied Whitby’s number nine again, saving a low strike with his foot at his near post.
The first chance of the second period arrived when stand-in centre-half Luke Bythway intercepted the ball inside his own half and then carried possession deep into away territory.
The ball eventually came back to him via touches for Tymon and Hopson, but he sliced his effort from 10 yards out horribly wide.
Whitby continued to enjoy the majority of possession but Frickley remained a threat on the counter-attack.
Tyler Williams sent a dangerous cross across the face of goal from the left flank, Andrew Gascoigne headed just over from a corner and then Joel Purkiss came close following a swift raid down the right.
Play then switched back to the other end and only another save from Malowski denied the Seasiders the lead.
McWilliams floated a cross to the back post where Callum Martin arrived and sidefooted a first-time strike back across goal.
The ball looked destined for the back of the net but the former Polish international stuck out a hand and brilliantly pawed away the danger.
Undeterred, the Blues kept coming, and when Malkowski flapped at a high ball into his box on the hour-mark, Adam Gell smashed an effort goalwards where it was met by the hand of defender Bailey Gooda.
Referee John Matthews immediately pointed to the penalty spot and the Frickley defender was soon heading for an early bath.
With three goals to his name alredy this term, Hopson stepped up confidently, burying his spot-kick in the top right-hand corner of the net and sending Malkowski the wrong way in the process.
Ten minutes later, a second penalty was awarded to the hosts when Roberts was tripped in the box.
Malkowski again went the wrong way as Hopson slotted into the bottom right corner of the Frickley net for 2-0 in the 70th minute.
Roberts looked certain to make it 3-0 soon afterwards when he went clean through on goal, but he planted his shot straight at Malkowski despite having plenty of time to pick his spot.
Matty Tymon, yet to open his account for Town since his return to the club, then saw a diving header well saved before hitting the inside of the post with a low shot from 15 yards out.
Number three did eventually arrive in the 86th minute when Hopson slipped the ball in to Roberts on the left side of the penalty area and last season’s top-scorer grabbed his first goal of 2016/17 with a powerful close-range finish that beat Malkowski at his front post.
Out of nowhere, the visitors almost pulled a goal back when Nathan Curtis rattled Shane Bland’s post with a well-struck 20-yarder, but that was as good as it got for the West Yorkshiremen.
Substitute Curtis Round piled more misery on the former colliery side when he fired home Whitby’s fourth goal with a precise left-footed effort that he placed over Malkowski and beautifully into the top corner of the net from 18 yards out.
It was a fitting finale to a glorious display of energetic passing football from Hardy’s men, and one which will have left Town supporters licking their lips in anticipation of what is to come this season.