Blues aim for first points of season in double bill

Graeme Armstrong tries to find a way through Rushall's packed defence'picture: Brian Murfield
Graeme Armstrong tries to find a way through Rushall's packed defence'picture: Brian Murfield
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WHITBY Town will be hoping for a repeat of the final day of last season when they visit Peak District outfit Buxton on Saturday (25 Aug).

Like the Blues, Martin McIntosh’s men have yet to win so far this season and famously went down 1-0 to the Blues last April, as Tom Portas’ goal ensured Whitby Town’s top flight survival in a nail-biting end to the campaign.

Kev Burgess (4) leaps highest for Whitby in their opening day clash against Rushall Olympic'picture: Brian Murfield

Kev Burgess (4) leaps highest for Whitby in their opening day clash against Rushall Olympic'picture: Brian Murfield

Town have three wins and two defeats from their trips to the Silverlands, where the Bucks lost 4-1 to Marine in midweek, following a 1-1 opening day draw at North Ferriby United.

Hotshot Mark Reed is always the biggest danger in the Buxton ranks, with a phenomenal scoring record of 213 goals from 331 appearances.

Physio Kenny Bolton expects Callum Wilson to be available for the trip, after taking a knock at FC United of Manchester on Tuesday, while fellow right-back Ibby Hassan is rated as 50/50.

You can travel to the Peak District for just £10, as a supporters’ coach leaves the Turnbull Ground at 9am. Admission is £9 adults and £6 concessions.

Then the second half of the Bank Holiday double bill sees old rivals Blyth Spartans in town, on Monday, with former Blues manager Tommy Cassidy in tow.

Cassidy left Whitby Town second-from-bottom in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier last November, after just one league win from 14 games, before joining Blyth towards the end of their campaign.

Spartans were virtually relegated from the Blue Square North before Cassidy’s arrival.

They include ex-Blue Ash Davis (25) up front and midfielder Sam Hodgson (21), who played 27 games for Town.

Blyth began with a 2-1 defeat at new boys Witton Albion last weekend, but bounced back in style with a 5-0 drubbing of Stocksbridge Park Steels, with Robbie Dale and Craig Farrell netting twice.

After the game, Cassidy told www.blythspartansafc.co.uk: “Craig Farrell and Robbie Dale were clinical and worked hard. Phil Airey, who missed all pre-season training, had his moments too while in midfield Lee Mason, Tom Berj and Shaun Vipond did well. Tom is full of energy but needs to channel it better. He picked up an ankle knock and is in doubt for the weekend.

“The back four were sound and Conor Grant in goal was assured and generally kicked very well. If there was a criticism of the performance it would be that Stocksbridge did create some chances and we need to start defending better from the front and midfield.”

In all-time meetings, Town have 39 wins to Blyth’s 38, though the Northumberland side won 2-1 last time out in last October’s FA Cup third qualifying round tie.

Jake Faichney netted the Blues’ consolation that day, while Chris Emms and current-Blue Michael Tait scored for the Spartans.

Tait, Alex White, Liam O’Mahoney and former skipper Graeme Armstrong will all line-up for Whitby against their former club on Monday.

Meanwhile Town top-scorer Nathan Mulligan has paid tribute to strike partner Armstrong, claiming he’s desperate to help his team-mate to a first competitive goal in the blue and white.

Mulligan told the Whitby Gazette: “It’s a team effort – at the Guisborough game, he crossed one in for me to score.

“At Bradford I crossed one in for him to score.

“[And on Tuesday] we caused a good FC United defence a lot of trouble.

“Hopefully on Saturday I become provider and I set him up.”

Admission for the Blyth game at the Turnbull Ground is £9 adults, £5 concessions and just £2 for under 16s.

Kick-off is 3pm.