Bythway treble fires Blues into Senior Cup final
Luke Bythway was the unlikely hat-trick hero for Whitby Town as they beat Middlesbrough 4-3 in a thrilling North Riding County FA Senior Cup semi-final clash.
The Blues started brightly but were unable to find a way through the Boro rearguard.
The away side should've taken the lead but Junior Mondal fired over the bar when it was easier to find the back of the net.
Boro did take the lead shortly afterwards, Niall McGoldrick was afforded far too much time and space on the edge of the six yard box from a free-kick, and he duly smashed past the helpless Shane Bland.
With half-time approaching, the Blues dramatically levelled, Mikey Roberts firing in at the second attempt after his first effort had been saved impressively by Aynsley Pears.
The crowd had barely been given the chance to make it back to their seats after the half-time interval when the hosts took the lead for the first time in the contest, Bythway grabbing his first goal with a towering header that gave Pears no chance.
Their lead didn't last too long though as Tyrone O'Neill turned superbly and fired a rasping drive past Bland for 2-2.
David Carson went close to a signature long-range goal, but his thunderous effort from a tight angle flew agonisingly wide.
The Blues didn't have to wait much longer to grab their third, Bythway tapping in to round off a superb team move which resulted in Roberts unselfishly teeing him up to roll into an empty net.
Whitby quickly hit a fourth, Danny McWilliams' raking free-kick finding Bythway at the back-post, who superbly arked a header back across the goal and into the bottom corner to make it 4-2.
Boro hit back again on 73 minutes to set up a tense final 17 minutes to the contest, Bradley Fewster applying a clinical finish to a flowing team move through the centre of the Blues defence.
The Blues held firm to see out the game and seal their place in the final against Pickering Town, who beat Scarborough Athletic in their semi-final last month.
The date and venue of the final are yet to be confirmed.
WHITBY TOWN: Bland; Martin, McWilliams, May, Bullock, Bythway (Hume 82), Gell, Hopson (C), Roberts (Fryatt 90), Carson, Bell. Subs not used: Dixon (GK), Caulfield, Robinson.
WHITBY GAZETTE MAN OF THE MATCH: Has to be hat-trick hero Luke Bythway, with mentions for solid midfielder Adam Gell and a tireless shift up top from Mikey Roberts.