Radcliffe will travel to FC United in the first round of the FA Trophy following Saturday's 3-2 win against Whitby Town at the Neuven Stadium, writes Kieran Wilson.

Three first-half goals got the job done against a visiting opponent who had previously been undefeated on their travels so far this season.

Whitby started the contest with pace and ferocity as they looked to continue that impressive streak. It took only six minutes to find in-form frontman Jacob Gratton, the striker was able to head home a Junior Mondal cross after a perfect ball was delivered into the area which allowed his teammate to give the visitors the lead.

The Seasiders had chances to add to their early lead, a shot fired high into the pond behind the stand, a wasted free kick due to a man having strayed offside, and a shot that never troubled Mateusz Hewelt’s goal, seeing Whitby struggle to take further advantage despite their dominant spell.

The first half flipped after the 25th minute, when Jordan Hulme fired Radcliffe onto level terms in the tie. Wideman Jake Thompson pinched the ball from full back Aaron Haswell as he attempted to clear his lines, the cross was headed up into the air by Harrison Beeden, and the tall frame of Ewan Bange was able to nod towards the foot of Hulme who shot on the turn, which gave Shane Bland no chance.

With some small tactical tweaks, the twenty first-half minutes that remained were controlled by the home side, as last season's top scorer Luca Navarro managed to claim a five-minute brace, just before the referee's half-time whistle.

The goal to give Radcliffe the lead came after 39 minutes. Brad Jackson muscled past his man before picking out Navarro in front of the visitors dug out. The number 11 drove at the two centre backs who continued to retreat towards their eighteen-yard area, he appeared to lose the ball as he entered the box, but was able to maintain possession before chipping over the goalkeeper which left him helpless.

The second goal was crafted well by captain Jordan Hulme, he found himself on the right-hand touchline and was able to dribble at rival skipper Daniel Rowe, getting the better of the defender to send a low, driven cross into the six-yard area, which allowed Navarro to tap home for his second.

The second half was different to the first, in a way that saw Radcliffe control the ball for large parts, however, both sides had chances to change the game. The Boro created numerous opportunities to kill the tie as a contest, Jackson almost found Bange but Bland was out well to clear, several shots at goal were simple enough for the goalkeeper, either being caught or pushed wide of the target.

A big shout for a penalty come on the 70-minute mark as substitute Anthony Dudley appeared to have been brought down whilst attempting to complete a counter attack, but the well-placed referee waved play on.

Whitby Town did have chances of their own, most notably when Brad Jackson had to be called into action on the goal-line early in the second period. In the last five minutes, Whitby fought to keep their cup chances alive and began to become dangerous in the final third, finally seeing their pressure pay off when Connor Smith arrived at the far post to reduce the deficit to one and give the visitors hope late on.

If it wasn’t for a superb Hewelt stop at his far post, the contest would have been decided by a penalty shootout. Rowe appeared at the back stick late on to try and poke Smith’s cross home, but the Polish shot stopper got his body in the way to stop the danger.

Boro will now travel to NPL Premier Division rivals FC United on Saturday, October 28. Winners will receive £3,000, with losers receiving £775.

Radcliffe are back in league action on Tuesday night (October 10) when they host Macclesfield under the floodlights.