Hosts Whitby Town prove too hot for play-off chasers Matlock Town
Josef Wheatley's composed finish, the Spennymoor Town loanee's first goal for the Seasiders, opened the scoring at the Towbar Express Stadium @ The Turnbull Ground before Shaun Tuton, facing his former club, double the hosts' advantage after 41 minutes with a bending effort, writes LIam Ryder.
Connor Simpson's second goal for the club saw Whitby race into a 3-0 lead before half-time and despite Jerome Slew's close-range header denying Town a second consecutive clean sheet, Aaron Haswell's thunderbolt sealed an emphatic victory for Nathan Haslam's side.
Haslam named an unchanged starting eleven which claimed a solid point at home to Radcliffe the previous week. Adam Gell, now in his third spell with the club, made his 250th appearance for the Seasiders in the process.
The Blues created the opening opportunity in front of goal as Simpson let fly from the edge of the area, only to hit a tame effort comfortably into the hands of Matlock goalkeeper Saul Deeney.
Deeney wasn't really troubled again until he would have to pick the ball out of his net for the first time. Tuton did see a shot from distance blocked however in the 24th minute.
In the 27th minute, Whitby took the lead as Wheatley continued his strong start to life in a blue shirt. After neat build-up play consisting of a number of players, Simpson played the ball into the path of the loan midfielder before he fired home past Deeney via the crossbar.
Alex Byrne was unfortunate not to get Matlock level shortly after as he saw his low effort well saved by Shane Bland despite the ball travelling through a number of defensive bodies.
On the half-hour mark, Matlock were fortunate to remain just one goal down as Aaron Braithwaite latched onto a square pass but failed to convert from 18 yards out as his low, drilled effort flashed narrowly past the target.
Whitby continued to push for a second goal and it was Tuton who extended Town's lead in the 41st minute, the player's second goal for the Seasiders since arriving from Belper Town.
After he managed to hold off a defender, the physical striker guided a right-footed effort into the far right-hand corner of Deeney's goal.
Four minutes later, Whitby found themselves further ahead as Simpson netted Town's third of the afternoon, the forward's second Seasiders goal, adding to the one that he scored on Boxing Day on the road at South Shields.
After teenager Braithwaite's initial shot was blocked, the ball fell kindly for Simpson who bent a right-footed strike into the top corner of Deeney's goal with the visiting shot-stopper standing no chance.
In the early stages of the second half, Bland's clean sheet was taken away as Matlock pulled one back through Slew as the striker capitalised on some sloppy defending and after finding space at the back post, headed into the net from close range following a corner.
Whitby, though, reclaimed their three-goal advantage as Haswell, who had come off the bench in the second half, scored with six minutes of normal time to play.
After Harry Green had danced around two defenders, he pulled the ball back for Haswell who unleashed a powerful strike into the top left-hand corner.
This came after a moment of controversy which saw Green have an effort ruled out for offside, despite keeper Deeney taking a poor touch which, in theory, played the Whitby man onside.
Whitby Town: Shane Bland, Priestley Griffiths (Lewis Ritson 56), Coleby Shepherd, Adam Gell, Daniel Rowe (C), Harrison Beeden, Lewis Hawkins (Aaron Haswell 62), Josef Wheatley, Connor Simpson, Shaun Tuton (Harry Green 79), Aaron BraithwaiteSubs not used: Jamie Bramwell, Soni Fergus.
Matlock Town: Saul Deeney, Jamie Sharman, Ethan Cartwright, Bradley Abbott (Saul Milovanovic 48), Adam Yates (C) (Karl Demidh 57), Ioan Evans, Alex Byrne, Alexander Duhemeau, Jerome Slew (Harry Wakefield 66), Bradley Wells, John JohnstonSubs not used: Jaz Goundry, Jim Pollard.