WHITBY is a town that is not averse to a bit of excitement over the years, along with its fame for Fish & Chips, Captain Cook, Caedmon the poet, the odd whaling ship and a certain Count Dracula.
The Turnbull Ground was shaken by Skelmersdale United on Saturday, as Tommy Lawson’s men fought out a battle with the hosts, that was played in the real spirit of the game.
Whitby have lost only once in their last 15 games and when they went into a 2-0 lead against Evo-Stik Premier leaders Skelmersdale, Whitby thought they were sailing, but back came Skelmersdale and two rip roaring goals saw honours even in a game that was in the balance right through to the very last kick.
Whitby took the lead after only eight minutes.
After receiving the ball from the right wing in the centre of the field, Lee Mason slipped a ball right into the path of striker Steven Snaith in the heart of the Skelmersdale back line; he turned and fired a low shot into the Skelmersdale net from about 15 yards, leaving Skelmersdale appealing for an offside that was never given.
Gradually Skelmersdale started to get their passing game going and as a warning of what was to follow Matty Hughes in the 18th minute, then Dean Astbury in the 20th minute brought saves out of home goalkeeper Shane Bland.
Later in the half, Skelmersdale’s Zac Hibbert made a fine save from Adam Rundle at his near post, before Ince threatened up the other end.
In the 50th minute Tom Portas crossed from the right and Armstrong met the ball with a near post diving header - the former Gateshead forward sending the ball into the far side of the Skelmersdale net.
Within a minute Skelmersdale pulled a goal back in spectacular fashion. Hughes, laying the ball off to Ince who rocketed a shot into the top corner from 20 yards out.
Skelmersdale continued to press, Hughes hit the post and Astbury had a shot deflected for a corner, the home defence stood firm.
But in the 64th minute Skelmersdale equalised.
A move down the left saw play switched to the right, Astbury cut inside and drove a left-foot screamer into the Whitby net.
Whitby broke away and Hibbert made another good save.
Astbury then saw a shot go just over the crossbar.
Both teams went for victory in the latter stages, only this time defences got a grip on the respective forwards, in the end a draw seemed to be the result both sets of supporters accepted as fair, it had been a great afternoon’s entertainment.
Skelmersdale had performed well and Whitby had proved that their chase for the play-offs is the real deal. They play a very similar style to Skelmersdale and when they come to the West Lancashire College Stadium on February 22 it will be another great encounter.
If football like this had been about in the seventh Century, Caedmon might never have been England’s first poet; he would have been a football writer instead.
WHITBY TOWN: Bland, Hassan, Robinson ©, Bullock, Pell, McTiernan, Portas (Henry, 74), Mason, Armstrong, Snaith (Farrell, 68), Rundle (Mulligan, 81) Subs (not used) Williams, Campbell
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Hibbert, Strickland, Ince, Hardwick ©, Wylie, Dunn, Hughes, Prince, Astbury, Laird (O’Reilly, 90), Morning (Peet, 76) Subs (not used) Holden, Greene, Flood
Referee: Geoff Liddle (Darlington)