WHITBY Town will look back on March as the month that breathed new life into their season, writes Ian Appleyard.

Chris Hardy's side had been slipping down the league after a disappointing winter but are now firmly in play-off contention and also looking forward to a date with Pickering Town in the North Riding County FA Senior Cup Final.

Back-to-back victories against Middlesbrough Reserves, in the Cup semi-final on Thursday night, and second-placed Nantwich, in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League on Saturday, were followed by a 2-2 home draw against Stafford Rangers on Tuesday night which extended Whitby's unbeaten run to seven games.

Manager Hardy said: "We had a tough period and a bit of a barren spell in front of goal but we are scoring goals (again) now and it's making a difference.

"There are a lot of teams vying for the top spots and we are officially one of them," he added. "If anyone doubted that we were part of the mix, the Nantwich result sent a good message out.

"The players are playing well at the right stage of the season, they are feeling confident and are consistent in their performance week-in, week-out."

Goals from David Carson and Dale Hopson secured a 2-0 victory over Nantwich while it needed an 89th minute penalty from Hopson to secure Tuesday's draw against Stafford.

Whitby are now back in the play-off zone in fifth spot.

Luke Bythway bagged a hat-trick, meanwhile, in last week's 4-3 victory over Middlesbrough with Michael Roberts also on the scoresheet.

On Saturday, Whitby entertain Coalville Town (3pm) who were 16th in the table ahead of last night's fixtures.

Scarborough Athletic manager Steve Kittrick admits that his side may have to win all their remaining games to qualify for this season's promotion play-offs in First Division North.

Boro were still four points adrift of the top five ahead of last night's game at Ramsbottom United and now have only five more games to play.

Striker Jacob Hazel scored the only goal of the game to secure victory over Glossop North End at the weekend.

"We have got to push on now if we are serious," says Kittrick. "We have got to make it difficult for everyone we play against.

"I have told the players what I expect. We need to get on a roll and get in these play-offs. But we have to win football matches - points are no good to us," he added.

Boro are away at struggling Mossley on Saturday afternoon (3pm).