Gavin Allott’s late goal meant Whitby Town had to settle for a share of the spoils from this all-Yorkshire affair, at the Turnbull Ground, on Easter Monday.
Blues boss Darren Williams was balanced in his assessment. “It wasn’t the best showing, but a difficult game against difficult opponents.” he said.
“They were very direct, a big team who looked to hit it long and we got dragged into it at times.
“We looked a bit tired, a bit jaded second half,” he added.
Williams kept faith with the XI that began Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win at Witton and Town started in a similar vein.
Ex-Middlesbrough striker Matty Waters fired just wide from the right-edge of the box, inside three minutes, before repeating the dose soon after.
The Blues should have led in the 15th minute, just as they did two days earlier.
On this occasion, it was Lee Mason who got to the byline on the right and put over the perfect driven ball that James Brown saw late and stumbled on rather than diverted into the net, at the back post.
Two minutes later, Dale Hopson’s left-wing corner then set up Saturday’s first goalscorer Kev Burgess, but his header was blocked in the six-yard box.
Frickley were then handed golden opportunity to lead themselves when Richard Pell gave a short backpass to keeper Shane Bland.
Reece Thompson nipped in between the pair, only to poke wide. As the hosts piled on the pressure, right wing-back Ibby Hassan couldn’t believe it when he found himself clear on the right-edge of the box. The popular defender inexplicably opted to curl inside the far post with the outside of his weaker left foot, but dragged well off target.
Just after the half hour, Mason turned Hopson’s right-wing driven ball straight at keeper Ben Simpson.
More chances came and went with skipper Mark Robinson crossing from the left but Brown nodded over with almost too much time to set himself. The same player then came agonisingly close as Waters laid off and the former Hartlepool frontman prodded a hair’s breadth wide of Simpson’s left-hand post.
“The first half wasn’t a great performance but we created chances, but it’s the story of our season that we couldn’t put them away,” Williams said.
The visitors, who had barely stretched Bland apart from a handful of set pieces, then missed three guilt-edge opportunities that all fell to striker Thompson.
“That was down to ourselves making stupid errors that allowed them to create chances,” was Williams’ view.
Eight minutes into the restart, the young forward headed over a right-wing ball from six yards before chipping wide one-on-one with Bland.
Just after the hour, he nodded wide, this time from a left-wing cross. Williams had seen enough and seconds later introduced top-scorer Dave McTiernan whose hamstring injury had kept him out of the Witton trip.
Replacing Liam Shepherd in midfield, it took just five minutes for McTiernan to craft the first goal. A well-timed ball over the top was raced onto by Mason, who lobbed the onrushing Simpson for an overdue opener midway through the second half.
Veteran Jamie Clarke came on for Brown with 18 minutes left, with Frickley pushing skipper Allott, the league’s third-highest goalscorer up front, after he’d started in midfield.
The move appeared to have paid dividends as the well-built battler first forced Bland to save with his legs, but moments later, popped up to drive through a crowd of players, across the former Middlesbrough gloveman and inside his right-hand post.
To their credit, neither side looked to settled for a point and Frickley, who sit fourth from bottom, in the last relegation spot, almost took victory in the final minute, but Allott steered over after running onto Macaulay Parkinson’s cut back.
“I think we lost discipline and shape,” Williams said.
“A point, on the basis of how we played, was probably a decent point, but we would have taken three if we played anywhere near what we’re capable of.”
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Lee Mason
Whitby Town: Bland, Hassan, Robinson (c), Burgess, Pell, Bullock, Mason (Snaith 77), Hopson, Waters, J Brown (Clarke 72), Shepherd (McTiernan 62). Subs not used: Raby, Williams.