Whitby Town rescued a point in the dying moments in a week, when Coalville Town visited the Turnbull Ground, thanks to a Kieran Weledji strike. Paul Connolly takes us through five things we learned from the draw.
1) If Whitby are making the play-offs, they’re doing it the hard way
There are still plenty of twists and turns in this Evo-Stik Northern Premier League season yet, but whatever happens, it would be typical Whitby to make the play-offs in the hardest way possible.
The Blues made things difficult for themselves at times on Saturday, and should have been looking to ensure three points against Coalville, but were made to settle for just one.
With two long trips to Corby and Mickleover coming up, Whitby now need to look to ensure six points, before facing a tough Easter weekend, when they host Warrington Town and travel to Blyth Spartans.
2) Coalville had done their homework this time
When the Seasiders visited Coalville in November, they systematically went about exposing gaps in the Ravens’ defence, who struggled to cope with the attacking pace.
This time around, Tommy Brookbanks ensured that wasn’t going to be the case.
Brookbanks set his side up in a rigid 4-4-2 system, with little fluidity or freedom for players to escape their position and it worked.
The system forced Whitby to try and be more creative, to no avail, and stopped the Seasiders in their tracks going forward, closing off wide positions at any opportunity and staying rigid in the middle.
3) Anthony Hume and Luke Bythway up front has potential
Going forward, little seemed to work for Chris Hardy’s side, though the introduction of Anthony Hume, coupled with Luke Bythway going up front, seemed to bring more joy.
Hume put in his usual shift, winning every aerial challenge, whilst Bythway worked hard to hold the ball, allowing Kyle Fryatt to do the running in behind.
With those changes, Whitby looked more dangerous going forward, and started to create chances within the penalty box.
Hume looks to be working hard to ensure a starting berth, whilst Bythway has shown his dangers in offensive thirds.
Saturday’s trip to Corby could be a perfect chance for Hardy to try something different from the outset, and go against the style of play that the Northamptonshire hosts will be expecting.
4) Whitby can count themselves lucky that mistakes didn’t cost them
The simple truth is, Whitby just weren’t hitting levels of performance that we’re used to seeing.
Coalville, admittedly, set up well and caused a number of problems, but Whitby’s attack wasn’t
The penalty incident also came as a result of poor decision-making from Whitby in the build-up, before Kyle Bryant went down under what looked to be a soft challenge.
However, Whitby’s never-say-die attitude shone through for the second time in a week though, to ensure a point.
5) Neither side did enough to warrant three points
Despite a good spell in the second half, Whitby couldn’t break through a solid Coalville line until going more direct to Anthony Hume and Luke Bythway.
Few chances of note were created across the side for both sides, with the teams pretty much at stalemate for the entirety of the game.
As Chris Hardy said in his post-match interview, it would probably have been hard on either side, had they lost the game.