JAKE Faichney’s 87th minute winner means Whitby Town are just two wins away from the proper rounds of the FA Cup after a tense victory at the Turnbull Ground on Saturday, writes Andrew Snaith.
The 22-year-old striker from Fylingthorpe netted with his first touch after coming off the bench seconds earlier, against East Yorkshire rivals North Ferriby United.
Boss Tommy Cassidy made four changes from the side that lost 3-0 at FC United of Manchester during the week.
The Blues’ second-highest appearance maker, keeper Dave Campbell, was dropped just five days shy of his 41st birthday, while Sam Hodgson, Darren Williams and Tom Marron also slipped to the bench.
There was a recall for Tom Courtney after a seven-week absence, with defender Alex White back after four games out with illness. Matty Tymon came in to partner Callum Hassan up front and Hassan’s fellow Hartlepool loanee Lewis Hawkins returned to an attack-minded midfield alongside Dave McTiernan.
Inside five minutes, a neat build-up culminated in a low Hawkins drive from 20 yards that Steve Wilson in Ferriby’s goal was able to gather comfortably. Moments later, Hassan got under Tymon’s cross, sending a point-blank header over the visitors’ crossbar.
Tymon was then caught in two minds after good work from Callum Martin played him in on the right-edge of the Ferriby box. The recalled frontman drilled a low ball across goal and just out of the reach of McTiernan, arriving at the far post.
Seconds later, Martin almost caught out Wilson with a rasping outside of the boot cross-shot from near the right corner flag, forcing the ex-Hull City gloveman to push the ball over at full stretch.
On 18 minutes, a golden chance as White’s beautiful lofted pass found Tymon who shifted the ball onto his left foot, before seeing his hooked effort deflected over.
It took 22 minutes before Ferriby’s speculative first effort on goal, but winger Wayne Brooksby’s neat cut in from the left flank was followed by a scuffed effort that rolled harmlessly past Courtney’s right-hand post.
As Town fired back, Hassan’s low shot after a good spell of possession was blocked and Hawkins’ optimistic 25-yard blast at goal flew well wide.
McTiernan’s close range drive was then charged down on the half hour before the Hull side shocked Whitby by grabbing the lead from their first meaningful attack.
Six minutes before half-time, Gary Bradshaw’s ferocious effort from distance came back off Courtney’s left-hand post.
Tom Clarke then fired across goal, with Courtney blocking point-blank at his other post from Nathan Peat, but Bradshaw was waiting behind to drill his 201st Ferriby goal under the keeper.
It was tough on the Blues who responded straight from the restart as Wilson did well to palm away Hassan’s goalbound header from White’s inswinging cross. Martin’s improvised shot on the turn, then narrowly missed Andy Leeson’s flying attempt to make contact just outside the six yard box.
It was to be Leeson’s last action of the game as the utility man picked up a knee injury and the experienced Williams replaced him at right-back for the second half.
The Seasiders emerged determined to redress the balance and duly did so six minutes after the restart. Martin tricked his way to the byline and put over the perfect right-wing cross for the 6’3” Hassan to nod past Wilson and two markers from under the visitors’ crossbar.
However the drama was far from over for the hosts as, on the hour, defender Ibby Hassan was adjudged to have tripped substitute John Leonard just inside the Whitby box. Brooksby stepped up to take the resulting penalty but Courtney dived high to his right, clawing the ball away with his left hand - a massive turning point in the tie.
Whitby - winless at home this season - had the momentum. Tymon fired over on the turn before skipper Mark Robinson chipped a quickly-taken 20-yard free-kick that just cleared the crossbar.
As the match threatened to boil over, a number of Ferriby players were booked before Tymon came close with a rasping drive from distance, that flew inches over the top.
With five minutes remaining, sponsors’ man of the match Hassan received warm applause as he was replaced by Faichney.
Roared on by the crowd, McTiernan ran from deep, beating a couple of players before sliding in Tymon. His angled shot was parried out to Faichney, who drove into the roof of the net from two yards.
The Blues held firm to earn £4,500 and a place in the third qualifying round for the first time since Dave Logan’s reign in 2005.
Speaking to the Whitby Gazette, Cassidy said: “It was certainly important for us to win - we needed to get back to winning ways.
“I said to the lads, we’ve got some important league games coming up and hopefully we can kick on from here.”
Cassidy also felt that Courtney’s spot-kick stop and Hassan’s leveller turned the game: “It came at a crucial time obviously to get back to one each and the penalty save was crucial as well.
“Over the 90 minutes, I think we were the better team.
“It can be a lottery at times, but the most important thing is getting the win and getting through to the next round of the FA Cup.”
The Ulsterman also paid tribute to loan duo Hassan and Hawkins, who he thought made a difference on his return and warned there’s still more to come.
“When we get to know those lads, they’ll do even better than they’re doing now.”
Turning to the match winner, who was playing Sunday League football at Fylingdales FC as recently as April, the ex-Workington boss added: “Jake Faichney’s an impact player, he’s got so much to learn, but he’s scored three goals this season and I must give him a lot of credit for that.
“He’s only a young lad and hasn’t played at the highest level, but his goal today got us into the next round of the FA Cup, so good for him.”
Whitby Town: Courtney, Leeson (Williams 46), White, I Hassan, Burgess, McTiernan, Martin, Hawkins (Hodgson 90), C Hassan (Faichney 85), Tymon, Robinson (c). Subs not used: Marron, A Campbell, D Campbell. Attendance: 253
Whitby Co-operative WTFC man of the match: Callum Hassan.