WHITBY Town suffered a surprise derby-day defeat to local rivals Scarborough Athletic in their third pre-season outing.
Despite being ahead twice and looking in control of the game for well over two thirds of the contest, Town conceded three times in the final 17 minutes to end up on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline.
Whitby got off to the perfect start when former Blues defender Denny Ingram gave the ball away on the edge of his own area and Dave McTiernan took full advantage to put the hosts 1-0 up in the fourth minute.
Darren Williams’ men knocked the ball about confidently in the opening quarter of an hour before Scarborough eventually came to life and only a superb covering tackle from Alex White denied Ollie Ryan an equaliser with 16 minutes on the clock.
Jeff Smith ghosted in behind the visitors’ defence in the 29th minute but his effort at the back post was diverted onto the woodwork by Scarborough keeper Kevin Martin.
A minute later, Martin had was at full-stretch to tip away an acrobatic effort from Nathan Mulligan after Steven Snaith had headed a Michael Tait centre into his path.
Boro then hit back when the impressive Tommy Adams smashed a 20-yard effort into the top corner of the Town goal to restore parity.
The away side were level for just four minutes as Mulligan took advantage of a generous refereeing decision to restore Town’s lead with a 36th-minute penalty - his fourth goal in his last two appearances.
The lively Ryan almost broke clear for a second time just before the break but an excellent last-ditch tackle from Kevin Burgess stopped him in his tracks and Whitby went into the interval in the ascendancy.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half were a non-event with Town comfortable in possession and Boro looking toothless in the final third with the ineffective Bill Law and diminutive Chris Hewitt isolated up top.
Whitby introduced three substitutes after an hour and two of them - Nathan Porritt and Ben Harmison - combined well to almost extend the home side’s lead after 62 minutes but Harmison’s curling effort was narrowly off target.
As the game entered its final 20 minutes the Blues began to look less fluent and Boro took advantage, drawing level when Bill Law got on the end of a long ball forward to beat Nick Liversedge from close range for 2-2.
Three minutes later, the previously anonymous Law broke down the right before sliding the ball across to Adams who tapped home his second of the game to put Boro ahead for the first time.
Whitby struggled to create a clear-cut chance to draw level and as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser they were caught on the counter attack as Hewitt went clean through on Liversedge’s goal before finishing calmly with what proved to be the last kick of the game.
Blues player-manager Darren Williams was disappointed that his charges were unable to build on Wednesday night’s impressive victory over Sunderland.
He said: “First half we were fantastic, as we were at the start of the second half but then we’ve had to make some changes to have a look at different personnel and unfortunately a few individual mistakes have let us down.
“I don’t think that we deserved to lose the game but you cannot make mistakes like we have at any level because you will get punished.
“Those mistakes proved costly and it is disappointing.
“We lost impetus after we started making changes in the second half - we slowed down and looked a bit lethargic.
“However, I have said before that you have to have a look at new players in these pre-season games because we have got decisions to make about who we add to our squad.
“We are almost there in terms of making those decisions and I expect that we will add a couple of players next week.”
Defender Ibby Hassan was missing from Whitby’s squad against Scarborough.
Williams revealed: “Ibby had a run out for Gateshead today. Whether there is anything in that I don’t know yet but I will speak to Ibby about it.
“I thought that Callum Wilson came in at right-back and did a great job in Ibby’s place today.”
Whitby Town: Liversedge, Wilson, Robinson (c), Burgess (Horne 46), White (James 61), Portas (Williams 71), McTiernan (Hardman 80), Tait, Snaith (Greener 80), Mulligan (Harmison 61), Smith (Porritt 61).
Goals: McTiernan 4, Mulligan (penalty) 36