Blues frustrated by Mickleover

Matty Tymon, left, netted Whitby's goal in their 1-1 draw with Mickleover Sports. Picture: Brian Murfield
Matty Tymon, left, netted Whitby's goal in their 1-1 draw with Mickleover Sports. Picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby Town were left frustrated after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Mickleover Sports on Saturday.

Chris Hardy’s men remain unbeaten in eight league and cup games this season and stay in the top six of the Evo-Stik Premier Division after picking up a point at the Turnbull Ground.

But they will feel that they might have had taken all three from their unambitious visitors, only for a harsh refereeing decision and a stunning goalline clearance to deny them.

The Blues dominated possession for large periods, and although they never quite hit top gear, they still created enough chances to have won the match.

By contrast, Mickleover struggled to make any real impression in the final third, leaving Shane Bland in the Whitby goal a virtual spectator throughout.

Town saw plenty of the ball from the outset and the composed passing game that has become their trademark this campaign quickly clicked into gear.

Sports lined up with ex-Derby County and Rotherham United man Pablo Mills sat in front of their back four and the Seasiders found them difficult to break down.

There was little in the way of goalmouth action until the 13th minute when Mikey Roberts raced on to a through-ball and slotted past visiting gloveman Jack Tolley, but the offside flag was already up against the Blues’ number nine.

Twelve minutes later Matty Tymon was at full stretch to meet a right-wing corner at the back post and forced Tolley into a fine reaction stop at point-blank range.

As the clock ticked past the half-hour mark, Whitby continued to boss possession, but started to struggle to make the ball stick in the final third.

Sports came into the game in the final 15 minutes of the opening period without ever really threatening Bland’s goal.

A pair of John McGrath free-kicks from just outside the box, one which was curled straight at Bland and the other blasted over the bar, were as close as the Derbyshire outfit came.

Whitby may not have finished the first half firing on all cylinders, but they began the second period with a bang.

Barely two minutes had been played following the re-start when Danny McWilliams got down the left and pulled a cross back to near the penalty spot.

Timing his arrival to perfection was Tymon, with three goals in his previous two games, to meet the ball first time and guide it past Tolley and into the back of the net.

Buoyed by their goal, Whitby came again, and Hopson’s low effort forced the Mickleover keeper into action again before, out of nowhere, the visitors were gifted a way back into the game.

Blues centre-halves Andrew May and Luke Bythway converged on Adam Baskerville on the right-hand corner of the penalty area and as the Sports striker pulled the trigger the ball deflected up off the former’s boot and struck the arm of the latter.

Despite their being no time for Bythway to avoid the ball hitting him given his close proximity to his opponent, referee Mr Samuel Barrott immediately pointed to the penalty spot.

Baskerville calmly converted for 1-1 after 56 minutes.

Although there was more than half an hour remaining, having got back on terms, Mickleover spent the remainder of the match happy to slow things down and waste as much time as possible.

They looked tidy in possession, but tended to go sideways rather than forwards when they had the ball, and maintained a good defensive shape to frustrate their hosts.

Despite this, the Blues did manage to fashion a trio of decent opportunities to earn themselves a maximum return.

Firstly, on 62 minutes, McWilliams switched the ball from left to right and a delicate touch from Callum Martin teed up Dale Hopson for a strike on goal.

His powerful effort was parried up in the air by Tolley, and although Tymon had half a chance to force the rebound into the net, Sports eventually scrambled the ball clear.

Four minutes later, Roberts fired in a shot that was blocked by a Sports defender, but the ball broke to Hopson, who blasted goalwards only for Tolley to brilliantly parry the effort after throwing himself acrobatically to his right.

At the other end, substitute Brodie Litchfield worked his way into the box before rolling a tame effort straight at Bland when he should have done much better, before Whitby’s best chance to win the match came and went.

Right-back Jake Bennett somehow got his head in the way of a thunderous half-volley from Tymon, 12 yards out, stopping the ball on its way into the top corner of the net with Tolley beaten.

That was as close as Whitby got to a second goal, however, and the contest began to fizzle out,

The remaining quarter of an hour, plus four minutes of added time passed by without much incident as the away side dropped 10 men back behind the ball and the Blues struggled to force a way through them.