THE FA Cup sprinkled its magic on Whitby Town as they finally landed their first win of the season in an incident-packed replay on Wednesday night.
The Blues had three goals disallowed for offside and survived a scare or two of their own, before Alex White’s second half header earned them a place in the second qualifying round against Droylsden a week on Saturday (22 Sep).
Boss Darren Williams was relieved his side have got the morale-boosting win they were looking for.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “We could have done without having a midweek game but it was good timing as the confidence in the dressing room afterwards was 100% better than we have previously had.
“It was one of those where it wasn’t great for spectators but it was a win and a clean sheet for Nick Liversedge who has been fantastic all season.”
Williams said the lads are looking forward to Saturday’s clash with leaders Marine and said they fear no-one in the EvoStik League.
“We’ve played well in the league, dominated the majority of games but caused our own problems.
“But anyone can beat anyone in this league, it’s not like playing Manchester United, you’re playing against a team in your own league.
“There’s no players I would swap for any of my lads.”
Whitby had all the early possession and when striker Jamie Clarke was scythed down, Nathan Mulligan’s dipping free-kick only just cleared the bar.
Darren Williams’ men did have the ball in the net on six minutes when Clarke neatly converted Dave McTiernan’s lofted pass only for the assistant’s flag to be raised.
Ten minutes later, Clarke again netted after winning a 50-50 ball and lashing from an angle but again an infringement had been spotted by the official.
The visitors from West Yorkshire almost stunned the Turnbull with an impressive piece of improvisation as Shane Kelsey had time to chest the ball down and struck a swerving shot on to the top of the bar from 30 yards out.
A minute later, Liversedge made the first of several good saves when he tipped Carl Fothergill’s first time drive around the near post with Ossett players lurking nearby.
McTiernan came closest to breaking the deadlock for Whitby with a placed shot from the edge of the area which visiting keeper Matthew Convey finger-tipped away.
Ossett re-emerged from the dressing rooms for the second half in determined mood and probably should have converted one of two chances – Fothergill’s header going over and Sam Smith curling narrowly wide after good work to create space to shoot.
They were punished when a deep floated Whitby free-kick was glanced over Convey and into the net by White for what proved the game’s decisive moment – but it was far from the end of the drama.
Whitby’s man of the match Liversedge made a terrific block from Smith’s close range header and the Blues eventually cleared after a frenetic game of pinball in the box.
The hosts got the ball in the net for a fourth time when Mulligan lashed home after Graeme Armstrong’s header bounced off the underside of the woodwork but up went the dreaded flag once more.
So it came as a surprise when the flag stayed down, allowing leading scorer Mulligan a clear run on goal, despite looking well offside, but when he tried to round Convey, the keeper got down to block. The lively number 11 pulled another good chance wide before a trademark Tom Portas run from halfway into the penalty area was swiftly upended but the referee waved play on.
Whitby made late substitutions, bringing on Ibby Hassan, Steven Snaith and Liam o’Mahoney to run down the clock and fully deserved their slot in the next round, earning £3,000 in prize money in the process.
Whitby Town: Liversedge, James, Robinson (c), Burgess (Hassan 83), White, Portas, McTiernan, Williams, Armstrong (Snaith 86), Clarke (O’Mahoney 90), Mulligan. Attendance: 179.
Whitby Town 1 Ossett Town 0