Whitby Town edged past basement boys Skelmersdale United on Saturday with a 1-0 win at the Turnbull Ground. Paul Connolly takes us through five things we learned from the victory.
1) The players did their club proud
Before the game, the Whitby players backed the #DoIt4Dion campaign by raising awareness and money, through the club’s social media channels.
In total, the squad raised £230, making donations from their expenses.
The campaign itself is being run to help Dion Yates, a 17-year old kick boxer from Middlesbrough, who is battling a rare form of cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, for the second time in her adolescent life.
2) The Blues can operate without Dale Hopson
Due to illness, Dale Hopson didn’t make the starting XI, on Saturday.
Despite this though, Whitby’s passing game remained unaffected, with the play coming through the middle with ease at times.
Yes, passes went astray, but that is the nature of the game at this level. Whitby still looked composed and went forward with confidence.
Dale Hopson’s introduction kept things as they were, going forward, but it means that Chris Hardy can be confident in his squad’s depth, even if his top goalscorer is unavailable.
3) Luke Bythway’s battle epitomises Chris Hardy’s team
The Blues’ striker-turned-defender afternoon could have easily had his afternoon hampered by an injury that certainly didn’t look pleasure.
The former Guisborough Town man was clattered in the opening ten minutes, after being sold short from a corner kick.
The tackle formed a deep gash on Bythway’s foot- one that he illustrated on social media site Snapchat post-match.
Despite that and the pain he was in, clearly at times, he battled on for the full ninety minutes and even worked through his night shift, before eventually going to A&E the next day, to stop the bleeding.
His fight is a quality that runs through Hardy’s side, and could be one that sees navigate their way into a play-off place, come April 22nd.
4) Pitches definitely can’t be blamed
But mentality perhaps can.
Whitby faced another soft pitch that was heavy in places, though it was no fault of the groundsman, Eric.
The pitch was holding water earlier in the week, so getting the game on was yet another marvellous effort.
However soft or heavy the pitch was, though, Whitby still instilled their passing mentality on the play and instigated most of the play.
Which makes eyes look towards mentality. Whitby look confident in their game plan at home, but away from home, it’s a different story, on pitches that have been similar to that of Whitby’s on Saturday.
With 15 games left, and nine at home, though, that mentality may just swing the play-off balance in their favour.
5) Back the Blues, not get on their backs
One striking element of Saturday’s game, that resonated more so in the middle of a small crowd, was the insistence to get on the players’ backs.
Matty Tymon, in particular, came in for stick from sections of the home support, after missing three chances in the first half.
Somehow, this blinded supporters to the excellent ball through, played by Tymon, to set up David Carson for the game’s only goal.
Tymon also created a number of chances with incisive passes, particularly David McTiernan’s fifth minute chance – a clear sign of his quality.
These are players who play for the love of the game and are at this level for a reason – They’re not going to get it right every time.
The way in which the Turnbull Ground is designed makes it tight, with crowds on top of you at times, meaning everything said can be heard.
Yes, there is a right to express an opinion having paid to watch, but also just be mindful of the factors mentioned.