Whitby TOWN 2
NORTHWICH VICTORIA 4
Even the North Sea mist couldn’t hide a shocking six-minute spell of Whitby defending that cost them four goals and which boss Tommy Cassidy called “embarrassing”.
No doubt there were also red faces among the Northwich contingent when they turned up over an hour late due to traffic congestion and a break down, with Cassidy’s assistant Tony Elliott picking some of them up in his van.
When play finally got under way at 4.30pm, perhaps hampered by the fog, both sides traded wild efforts from distance neither of which troubled keepers Dave Campbell and James Spencer.
But former Stockport gloveman Spencer was beaten inside 18 minutes.
When Chris Batchelor floated an inviting outswinging corner to the edge of the visitors’ box, it was centre-half Kev Burgess who nodded home his fourth goal in five games.
Moments later, it should have been two when Andy Campbell looked way offside but was allowed to go on and force a tremendous reaction tip over from Spencer with a shot on the turn.
Whitby pressure continued as the Blues chased their third straight win of the season.
On 27 minutes, Dave McTiernan’s goalbound effort from 18 yards was deflected into the path of Tony Hackworth, who slammed the ball first-time high over the crossbar.
Jimmy Beadle showed little sign of being Town’s 15-goal top scorer just before the half hour, stroking tamely straight at Spencer from distance.
Midfielder Wayne Riley replaced full-back Louis Barnes at the interval for the Vics, but it was Town who threatened next, just five minutes after the restart.
Andy Leeson drove across goal from the right byline but Beadle missed another great chance, sliding the ball wide when on the ground inside the visitors’ six yard box.
Hackworth sent a flicked header well wide, but it was to be the introduction of former Burscough frontman Tony Evans seconds earlier that was to make all the difference for the away side.
Sacrificing young creative midfield man Brian Summerskill, the Cheshire outfit, much fancied after being relegated from the Conference North for financial problems, went for broke with a four-man strikeforce.
And it seemed to work as Town suffered a ridiculous six-minute spell that turned the match on its head.
First, amid a sheet of fog, Michael Clark finished well from just inside the box, then seconds later, keeper Campbell dropped a long ball which was squared to Stockton-born Mick Roddy, who made no mistake from close range.
Just three minutes passed before substitute Evans intercepted Ibby Hassan’s dreadful backpass to slot past Campbell and the noisy 40-50 travelling fans were still celebrating when Evans slammed an unstoppable 20-yard effort into the top-right corner to make it 4-1.
At the other end, Sam Hodgson’s 25-yard low drive was on target but comfortable for Spencer.
Meanwhile, Whitby made the first of their changes as Ash Davis replaced Beadle and within six minutes, had a goal back.
Hackworth’s close range shot was charged down but it landed nicely for Davis to sweep home on the turn with five minutes remaining.
However, the lofty former Sunderland RCA frontman appeared to pull a hamstring on his way back to the halfway line and was replaced by Shaun Lambert in injury time.
Whitby continued to sweep forward in the additional two minutes and the last act of the game saw Northwich’s Michael Byron hook the ball off his own goal-line with Hackworth and man of the match Burgess lurking.
Predictably, the heavy fog that obscured half the pitch for 85 minutes of the game had cleared completely by the time referee Martin Coy blew for full time.
It summed up a very disappointing afternoon for the Seasiders with Cassidy furious after the game.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “I don’t care if it’s the first game or the last, that was an embarrassment.
“The defending was abysmal and throughout the team it was unprofessional.”
The Seasiders had already sealed their survival last Tuesday with victory at Mickleover and Cassidy felt his side took it easy as a result.
Cassidy added: “This takes the gloss off the last two matches. The attitude and the goals given away were a joke.”
Whitby Town: D Campbell, Leeson, White, Hassan, Burgess, Hodgson, McTiernan, Hackworth (c), A Campbell, Beadle (Davis 79, Lambert 90), Batchelor (Cornforth 87). Subs not used: Scott, Courtney(GK).
The Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man Of The Match: Kev Burgess
Match Sponsor: The Board Inn- Church Street, Whitby
Matchball Sponsor: Minimix Concrete North East – Haverton Hill, Billingham, Cleveland.