The Seasiders still haven’t won in six visits to Wales after two goals in two second-half minutes, including a disputed penalty, gave fourth-placed Colwyn Bay the points on Saturday.
The Blues were unchanged from the side that thumped Ossett Town 4-0 in midweek, though numbers were down as subs Darren Craddock and Ged Dalton decided to leave the club after Tuesday’s game.
The pair’s departure meant Whitby travelled with just 14 players and manager Tommy Cassidy said he was: “Very disappointed with the way they left.”
The match kicked off five minutes late after Town’s five-hour journey was lengthened further by a 90-minute hold-up in the Manchester area, following an accident.
Like the M60 traffic, things took a while to get going on the pitch. In a cagy opening, one of Whitby’s recent newcomers, midfielder Sam Hodgson, tried a speculative effort from 25 yards that rose just over the Bay crossbar.
Jimmy Beadle - a hat-trick hero at Ossett then scuffed wide from the right edge of the penalty area on 11 minutes. The smallest man on the field Anthony Sheehan then somehow got to a pinpoint right-wing cross first but nodded straight at Dave Campbell, when centrally placed some 12 yards out.
Despite Sheehan’s limited stature, many of his team-mates stand six foot plus and living up to their nickname name perhaps, the Seagulls were a constant menace in the air.
Five minutes from the break, they should have led when another cross caused chaos in the Whitby area. Campbell dropped the ball under pressure from a corner and the hosts’ man of the match- skipper Damien Allen- somehow managed to strike the only man on the Town goal-line- defender Ibby Hassan. From the rebound, Alex Titchiner tried a deft lob but Campbell quickly redeemed himself, the 40-year-old leaping high to his left to palm the ball away from the top corner and wide.
Campbell’s namesake Andy, a former Cardiff City forward, created the best chance for the English on the hour mark when chasing down Daniel Grannon on the Whitby right. The defender, who celebrates his 27th birthday today (Tuesday) was charged down level with his own box and the ball cannonned favourably for Beadle.
Keen to add his eleventh of the season, the Seasiders’ top scorer rounded keeper Chris Sanna but was forced wide and could only fire across the six yard box from an acute angle.
at the other end, Ashley Lyth’s shove in the back of Allen conceded a free-kick that was whipped across the Town box for Rob Hopley to beat Hassan at the far post, but glance wide.
Moments later, Chris Batchelor’s shot from distance was deflected into the path of Beadle, whose vicious strike brought an acrobatic one handed save from Sanna, though the ball came at a nice height for the ex-Watford stopper.
The Seasiders were to rue those missed half chances as a rare error from their veteran keeper cost them with 20 minutes remaining. Campbell sped out of his goal to collect a loose ball on the edge of the box, but sent substitute Jimmy McCarthy sprawling as the pair clashed just inside the area.
There was some question on the amount of contact made on Bay’s new loan signing from Chester who’d only been on the field five minutes, but few protests from the Whitby players as another sub Fraser McLachlan sent Campbell the wrong way from the penalty spot.
If the first goal was unfortunate, the second was rank bad defending. Within two minutes, Luke Denson linked up well with McCarthy, getting to the byline and crossing for Allen to rush forward unmarked and volley into the roof of the net- again from around 12 yards.
As the Seasiders looked to hit back immediately, Hassan, pushing on from centre-half, intercepted the ball on halfway and released Joe Cornforth. The 20-year-old, who started his career at Sunderland’s Academy and debuted for Town in midweek, slid in Andy Campbell just inside the box. But the ex-Middlesbrough man could only release a tame angled effort with his weaker right foot and Sanna clung on comfortably low down.
Five minutes from time, the tricky Batchelor neatly worked the ball to Davey Southern whose cross was inadvertantly headed back to Batchelor by towering ex-Ossett defender Danny Meadowcroft. However, the local lad’s half-volley on the turn from the edge of the box, flew a yard over the crossbar.
Late on, Sanna caught with ease from Cornforth’s tame header, while Allen fired an equally weak effort past Campbell’s near post in the final minute.
After the match, Cassidy told the Whitby Gazette how he felt the penalty turned the match:
“I was too far away from where i was, but that changed the game dramatically.”
He added: “The second was a soft goal. We played very well first half but we just didnt win the second ball enough after the break and one or two players went off the boil, second half.
“They changed their shape and were by far the better team after that.”
Whitby Town: D Campbell, Lyth, White, Hassan, Burgess, Hodgson, Southern, Cornforth, A Campbell, Beadle(c), Batchelor. Subs not used: Scott, Leeson, Courtney(GK).