Kendal draw extends run - but Blues still seven points from safety

Andy Leeson stretches for an awkward ball'picture: Brian Murfield
Andy Leeson stretches for an awkward ball'picture: Brian Murfield

Left-back Danny Williams’ second yellow-card came too late for Whitby to take advantage against Kendal on Saturday, but the Blues’ draw, at least, extends their 2012 unbeaten run to three matches.

The former FC United defender was dismissed after blocking Ibby Hassan with a high, outstretched arm deep into injury time, as the Seasiders’ full-back attempted to pass him down the right wing.

Earlier on, Jimmy Beadle’s sixth goal in nine games had cancelled out Mark Jackson’s opener for the Cumbrians as Whitby remain seven points from safety.

Player-boss Darren Williams picked an unchanged side after last week’s 2-0 victory over Chasetown, though midfielder Dave McTiernan was back on the subs’ bench after a long-term injury sidelined him, back in November.

The visitors, fresh from a 5-3 win at Worksop seven days earlier, started the stronger and Ashley Dunn should have done better when sent clear but Blues keeper Nick Liversedge was able to clutch a scuffed shot from distance.

At the other end, Jeff Smith came close after cutting in from the left flank and beating Craig Dootson with a curling shot that cracked the crossbar from the edge of the Kendal penalty area.

Moments later, the ex-Stalybridge keeper just managed to hang on after Jeff Smith’s skidding 20-yard free-kick almost sneaked inside his left-hand post.

As home pressure continued, good work from teenager Tom Portas and frontman Andy Appleby culminated in the evergreen Jamie Clarke sending a far-post bicycle-kick narrowly wide.

Lee Ashcroft’s side rallied and Liversedge was twice tested from distance in the space of four minutes. The former Darlington gloveman got his body behind awkward efforts from Ciaran Donnelly and Gary McEvatt.

Unfortunately, one of Liversedge’s defensive team-mates didn’t show the same concentration soon after when Donnelly’s right-wing ball across the face of goal was gleefully nodded home by Mark Jackson, from point-blank range, as the Lake District outfit’s 11-goal leading-scorer left his marker trailing.

Blues worked hard to get back in the game and were rewarded after peppering the away side in the minutes leading up to half-time.

A minute before the break, they won a corner after indecision in the away defence and Smith’s perfectly-placed, inswinging cross from the right, was headed firmly past Dootson by Beadle at the far post, for a priceless leveller.

Speaking after the game, Williams described the result as “a good point”, before admitting: “Having chances to win makes it a bit disappointing, but we’re still unbeaten [in 2012].”

Whitby created clear-cut opportunities after the interval, but first they had some defending to do.

Seven minutes into the second half, Hassan bravely charged down Alex Taylor’s shot, after Donnelly again drove a lethal right-wing ball across the six yard box.

Then Taylor was well-placed for a second time, just before the hour, only for the ex-Burnley striker to poke a disappointing effort well wide of the target.

He and Kendal were almost made to pay with 15 minutes remaining. Full-back Hassan overlapped down the right, pulling the ball back to Clarke, whose attempted shot fell to Appleby, only for the tireless striker to drive against the only covering defender from six yards.

The 26-year-old, who began his career with Hartlepool United, revealed afterwards: “I thought I’d scored, to be honest.

“It hit the defender on the thigh.”

Matty Tymon replaced Clarke moments later and, within seconds, had a chance of his own to win the game for the Seasiders.

Appleby turned provider, running into the Kendal box and squaring for the hero at Frickley to strike first-time from 12 yards, over the crossbar.

The final minute saw McTiernan come on for Appleby - the game was still in the balance and assistants Dave Campbell and Dennis Wheeler, in charge with Williams on the field, clearly wanted to make sure the hosts weren’t caught late on.

As it was, they were handed one last opening in added time.

Portas and Hassan exchanged passes neatly and as the pacey defender sped past Kendal’s Danny Williams, the ex-Clitheroe man desperately threw out an arm to halt any progress.

A first-half booking meant patchy referee Geoff Liddle had an easy decision in brandishing a second yellow and reducing Ashcroft’s men to 10.

The resulting free-kick was the last action of the afternoon, floated in by Smith, Beadle flicked on with his head, but Dootson was there to catch, under pressure on his goal-line, and ensure it was honours even at a chilly Turnbull.

An upbeat Appleby later told the Whitby Gazette he was: “Happy with the way we played as a team in the second half.

“Overall it was a good performance and there are plenty of positives to come out of the game.”

Whitby Town: Liversedge, Hassan, Robinson (c), White, Leeson, Williams, Portas, Beadle, Clarke (Tymon 76), Appleby (McTiernan 90), Smith. Subs not used: Martin, Lyth, D Campbell (GK). Attendance: 284

Co-operative Whitby WTFC man of the match: Andy Appleby; match sponsor: MC Electrical Services (Whitby) Limited; matchball sponsor: The Royal Hotel, Whitby.

Whitby Town 1 Kendal 1