Blues welcome new face ahead of Salford test

Whitby Town tackle Salford City once again on Wednesday evening. Picture: Brian Murfield
Whitby Town tackle Salford City once again on Wednesday evening. Picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby Town will include a new defender in their squad when they take on Salford City tonight (Wednesday).

Bradford City’s Luca Mellor has joined the club on loan as manager Darren Williams looks to bolster his squad following a recent spate of injuries.

Kieran Weledji and Matthew Waters are also in contention to return to the squad after picking up knocks in recent weeks, as the Blues tackle the Ammies for the third time in just 12 days.

After a 1-1 draw at Moor Lane in their FA Cup clash on September 12, City hammered the Blues 5-0 at the Turnbull in the replay last Wednesday.

Town go into the game boosted by a positive performance, if not the result to go with it, from Saturday’s trip to Sutton Coldfield.

Boss Williams watched in disbelief as his side produced a fine display, but a combination of the woodwork and some inspired goalkeeper ensured that they returned to North Yorkshire with nothing to show for their efforts.

“I can’t get my head around dominating a match from start to finish and getting beat 1-0,” he told the Whitby Gazette.

After a cagey start, Williams’ men adjusted well to the artificial 4G plastic pitch and Callum Martin came close on 15 minutes, rattling the right angle of post and crossbar from 25 yards after exchanging passes and cutting in off the right wing- keeper James Wren getting the slightest touch onto the woodwork.

Nine minutes later and the visitors rattled the bar for a second time, this time it was Martin crossing from the same flank for Lee Mason to graze the top of the structure with a close range back post header.

At the other end, only a last ditch slide tackle from Liam Shepherd denied Mo Diop inside the Whitby six yard box, with Lee Bullock repeating the feat soon after.

The second half opened with two changes for the West Midlands side, who were promoted into the Evo-Stik NPL Premier through the First Division South play-offs in May.

One of them, ex-Rushall forward Ramone Stephens came close with a point-blank glancing header wide of Shane Bland’s right-hand post, with his first touch, from Diop’s right-wing ball.

But seconds later, Diop took matters into his own hands. A great run from the other new addition, Zak Lilley, culminated in a quick break and a driven ball from the left edge of the box where Diop turned home completely unmarked, via the underside of the bar, from 10 yards.

Lilley was unlucky to limp off just ten minutes later, but by then Williams had introduced big striker Callum Hassan for Scott McCarthy and Ross Gardner for Mason in another straight swap, this time, in midfield.

Bland saved well low down from Danny O’Callaghan’s free-kick before Bullock made way for ex-Marske midfielder Cameron Park, who took to the right wing for the final seven minutes.

Whitby, in all white, forced one more opportunity five minutes from time. The lively Mikey Roberts popped up on the edge of the box and drilled goalwards only for Wren to save again, this time pushing the ball around his right-hand post.

The unlucky away side may well have figured it wasn’t to be when only an intervention from assistant manager and mechanic Dave Campbell re-started the team coach after it stopped to pick up players in Collingham, West Yorkshire.

Whitby Town v Salford City kicks-off at the Turnbull Ground at 7.45pm with under-16s again admitted free, when accompanied by an adult paying the full £9, senior citizens pay £5 and under-18s £3.