Wonder save puts Whitby side into cup semis

Whitby Rugby Club return to action against Cayton'picture: Alan Wastell
Whitby Rugby Club return to action against Cayton'picture: Alan Wastell

A wonder save so good it had the opposition raving about it, put Whitby Rugby Club into the league trophy semi-finals on Saturday.

The tie passed its morning pitch inspection, giving Rugby Club only their second game of the year.

The game started slowly, with both teams taking time to settle down, but it was the Rugby Club who settled the quicker with the wind behind them.

A few runs by Kilpatrick and some last-ditch tackling was the only real danger from either team in the openinig 20 minutes.

Club finally got the passing and movement going and some great football from Inglis, Richardson and Swales found Craig out wide.

He crossed the ball into the box which Marc Usher brought down, dragged across the keeper back to the near post for Hogarth to tap home for 1-0 on 23 minutes.

The second soon arrived as Chad Swales and Richardson combined well in midfield, Richardson received the ball back off Swales, beat his man and struck the goal of the game from 25 yards over the keeper and off the underside of the bar for 2-0.

The third arrived when a Hogarth cross was met in the six-yard box by Usher who chested down and drilled home from inside the six-yard box.

Club nearly extended the lead through Kilpatrick, Jobling. Usher, played through on goal by Kilpatrick, lifted over the onrushing keeper but it rolled agonisingly wide of Ayton’s far post.

Ayton’s main threat was Tyson on the left side but found Harry Smith in no mood to be beaten by the tricky winger and never gave him an inch.

Just before half-time, Ayton beat the offside trap with Tyson racing into the area, but he was superbly tackled by Harry Smith to knock the ball out.

In tthe second half, Rugby Club weathered the early Ayton fightback with the wind now behind them.

A long-range shot looked destined for the roof of the net but this was turned over by Sam Gale with a excellent save.

Some more good build-up play by Ayton freed Tyson 12 yards out. He hit sweetly low to the bottom right and the ball was met by Gale turning it round the post.

Ayton finally got a goal back when a ball over the top caught Club out and the Ayton winger pulled back across goal for a oncoming striker to sidefoot home.

Club steadied the storm for a while. Kilpatrick was replaced by Crabtree, Jobling and Usher were unlucky not to get the bounce of the ball in and around mud in the Ayton area and it was cleared to safety.

Then on 70 minutes, Ayton got the lifeline and right back in the game. Richardson’s late tackle in the box gave Ayton the chance from the penalty spot which they took and left an anxious last 20 minutes.

Ayton changed to four up top and went for it, sending long ball after long ball into Club’s area.

Craig pulled up with a knock and was replaced by manager Ste Mothersdale, going to five in the middle and leaving Jobling the loan striker.

A Welham mistake at the back released a clear run on goal and Gale again kept his side in the lead with another fine stop. Club broke away in the last couple minutes, Jobling beating couple of defenders, lifting over the keeper but the woodwork came to Ayton’s rescue.

The ball was cleared long upfield, eventually finding Ayton playing, knocking the ball out wide. The winger beat his man, played into the club area to an Ayton forward who knocked back to a onrushing team-mate who blasted the ball towards the top corner and looked to have brought extra time.

But Gale acrobatically clawed it out away to his left for a match-winning save worthy of any ground to see his side and Rugby Club through to the semis.

Boss Mothersdale said: “This was a tricky little cup tie for us again not playing for a while.

“We had the first half and they certainly had the second. We ran out of legs after an hour and the young Ayton lads pushed us all the way to the end and fair play to them.

“But we have a great team spirit that saw us through. Marc Usher, Sam Richardson and Inglis had good games.

“Smith was awesome – he’s just everywhere, making last-ditch tackles and behind him in goal, Sam Gale.

“I made Sam my number one last year and he made saves today, especially that one at the end that would certainly grace and local ground.

“The opposition today have even been sending me messages to one of his saves today – in particular the one at the end that earned us a semi-final place and a man of the match award.”

Ayton Res 2 Whitby RFC 3