Whitby Town gaffer Darren Williams said his side could learn from the “hard-working ethic” of Tuesday night’s visitors, Scottish Premiership outfit Hamilton,
The Accies were promoted into the top flight north of the border at the end of last season and provided Whitby with a stern test in the first home friendly of the pre-season campaign.
The Scots, containing ex-Premier League players as well as internationals, contained the Blues to few chances. And one of the things Williams feels his side can learn from his how quickly his players were closed down.
“That’s something I said at half-time that the lads had to make sure to shut down and get the ball back after they had lost it,” he said.
“Hamilton worked hard and had the desire to regain possession as quickly as possible.
“If you pick up on these things as a player and try to work on them, you can that mental switch on straight away and it helps massively.
“There are a lot of things [from the game] the lads will pick up on and learn from and stands us in good stead.”
Williams said there was an occasion in the first half when one of the Hamilton centre backs sprinted half the length of the pitch to win the ball from a Whitby throw-in.
“It’s not a bad thing to have that hard-working ethic in the game. Hopefully everyone involved will have something in their minds they can use.”
Accies were first off the mark with 12 minutes on the clock with the intricacy of their build-up play paying dividends.
Mickael Antoine-Curier laid the ball square for Ali Crawford to place home into the far corner past Blues keeper Shane Bland.
Whitby were struggling to put together any meaningful attacks as their fitter, sharper opponents were quick in closing them down, but the impressive Ross Gardner came close when he lashed a vicious drive only inches the wrong side of the near post on the half hour.
Straight after, Crawford went close again, aiming a carefully placed drive from the edge of the area towards goal, but Bland was equal to it with a fingertip save.
Whitby missed their clearest opportunity of the game shortly before half-time as Gardner curled in an inviting right wing cross.
Striker Craig Farrell should have tested Northern Ireland international keeper Michael McGovern but glanced wide from a great position.
The Blues matched their opponents well in the first half but the superior fitness of the Lanarkshire side was evident after the break, along with the predicted raft of substitutions from both camps.
The Scots’ side’s Dougie Imrie provided an early highlight as his wild strike cleared the ground and crashed through a window behind.
Town had a decent spell around the hour mark, with Ste Snaith forcing McGovern into a save and Matthew Waters fierce drive from the resulting corner only narrowly missing the target.
Former Premier League star Jason Scotland, who played in the top flight for Wigan, was introduced to the action and made an immediate impact midway through the second half. A ball into the box found him in sufficient space to emphatically crash the ball home past Bland to the delight of the vocal travelling contingent.
Accies sealed the game 10 minutes from time with a classy goal. Scotland worked some space on the edge of the box before his back-heel was squared to fellow sub Andy Ryan, who curled stylishly into the net.
The returning Bland, who had been due to go on a scholarship to the USA before changing his mind, prevented the scoreline getting any worse, rushing out to block well at the feet of Greg Docherty who had seemed destined to score.
On Saturday (July 26), Whitby Town face another useful test when League Two side Hartlepool United arrive at the Turnbull Ground.
Pools have confirmed they are bringing their first team squad and it is a fixture in which the Blues have competed well over the past couple of seasons.
“We’re up against a football league side, they’re full time and training every day so if we can get near them or match them, all the better,” said Williams.
The Blues then go to West Auckland - the side which dumped them out of last season’s FA Cup qualifiers - on Tuesday night (July 29).
A supporters’ coach will be leaving the ground at 5pm. Call secretary John Tyreman on (01947) 605153.
Whitby Town: Bland, Hassan, Robinson (c), Burgess, Bullock, Waters, Gardner, Banks, Farrell, Snaith, Shepard. Subs used: Pell, Pool, Brown, Bath, Braithwaite. Attendance: 271.
Whitby Town 0 Hamilton Academical 3