Whitby Town arrested their poor run of form on Boxing Day, at the Turnbull Ground, with a 2-1 win over old foes Blyth Spartans. Paul Connolly takes us through five things we learned from the victory.
1) Adam Gell doesn’t score normal goals
The last time Adam Gell scored at the Turnbull Ground, it was a thirty-yard thunderbolt to keep Whitby Town in the division.
Fast forward to Boxing Day and it was that man Gell again to secure a vital goal for the Blues, this time helping them to second with a 40-yard lob.
The ex-Guisborough Town man capitalised on a poor clearance from Blyth goalkeeper Paul Woolston to send the ball sailing back over his head and into the bottom corner.
2) Noise helps
A crowd of 612 buoyed the Blues and created a big game atmosphere, with Whitby fans vocal throughout the game.
The singing section in the Shed worked through a good repertoire of chants about various players and manager Chris Hardy, as well as a few of the classic club chants, such as ‘sea, sea, seasiders’.
For the most part, supporters were well behaved and were given something to shout about on the pitch, with an excellent team performance from Whitby.
Following the match, players took to social media to praise the support and thank those who made the noise, as well as the regular hardcore 200-250 fans.
3) Mistakes were there to be made
With a strong wind and a difficult pitch, coupled with a high-tempo game of football, made for interesting viewing.
It was clear that, with both teams pushing so high up the field for large spells, it was going to be key for one side to force errors, and it was Whitby who did so.
Determined runs to force pressure from Matty Tymon gave Blyth’s defence cause to worry, whilst Steven Snaith’s control of Blyth’s Richard Pell gave him the freedom to do so.
It paid off on a number of occasions and eventually forced a goal, with Adam Gell capitalising in style.
4) Defence can win games
It was fair to say that Blyth shaded the opening 45 minutes of the game, and could have had a goal to take into half-time.
Whitby’s defence soon saw to the threats, with Luke Bythway in particular impressing with a battling performance.
Shane Bland’s life was made easier by an organised display in front of him, though when he was called upon, he kept Whitby in the game.
A fantastic display was topped off by a good penalty save, making it four consecutive spot-kick saves for the stopper.
5) Steven Snaith is staking a claim to return to a striking position, but it’s not the answer
While Steven Snaith was originally at the club as a striker, under Darren Williams, Chris Hardy has taken him under his wing and moulded him into a midfielder.
But in recent games, Hardy has instead opted for Snaith as a hold-up player alongside Matty Tymon, rather than utilise Mikey Roberts.
Snaith played the role to perfection yesterday and had the running of ex-Blue Richard Pell for the entirety of the game.
Snaith tussled with Pell and continued to force errors from the big centre-half, whilst ensuring Matty Tymon could go about his game of pressing with intent.
Although more performances in a similar vein from the Blues’ skipper could see him cement a starting place up front, he perhaps isn’t Whitby’s answer to their recent problems in front of goal.
Snaith hasn’t, in the past, offered enough goals to consistently warrant a place in the front order, whilst Tymon also isn’t a 25-goal a season striker.
With this, Lee Bullock confirmed post-match that the club is on the hunt for goals, though admitted that it has become difficult, with club’s raising prices for players, now that the club is performing well.