WHITLEY Warriors head in to this weekend’s round of English National League North fixtures knowing tomorrow they could edge even closer to pace-setters Billingham Stars.
The Hillheads side lie second after an impressive string of results – including last week’s seven- goal thriller at Nottingham Lions where the Warriors headed back up the A1 after clinching a 4-3 victory.
It looked as if it was going to be one of those nights when Nottingham went ahead in the last minute of the opening period via a Chris Colgate strike.
However, Whitley took control with goals from Callum Pattison, Jamie Tinsley, Kevin Bucas and Callum Watson. They had to survive a late scare, though, with Michael Greaves and Marcus Maynard threatening to send the game into overtime.
However, they held on and now can look ahead to today’s North Cup trip to Blackburn Hawks and tomorrow’s league clash at home to Telford Titans – where a victory could put them well in the title race mix – with confidence.
Head coach Garry Dowd (pictured left) said: “Looking back, Nottingham was a game we would have probably have lost at the start of the season.
“However, we can now stay with other teams even when we do not play at our best – that was one of the keys to our success down there.
“We made a slow start and Nottingham took advantage of that to lead but we re-grouped at the end of the first period and I was much happier with the way we played in the remainder of the game.
“We lost a little bit of concentration at the end, but by then we were good value for our lead.”
A major plus for Dowd, which will hold the Warriors in good stead for this weekend’s double-header, was the form of new net minder Ritchie Lawson – the ex-Newcastle Vipers man making a string of superb stops.
Dowd added: “He showed all his qualities at Nottingham and made some fantastic saves.
“As debuts go, it was certainly a good one.”