WHITBY Town’s winless start to the season continued when they suffered a second close defeat to title contenders FC United of Manchester in just over a fortnight.
Having been applauded off the pitch in a 3-2 defeat in Lancashire last month, another tight game beckoned on Wednesday - but a single goal consigned Whitby to a sixth defeat in succession.
Despite the alarming start, chairman Graham Manser believes a swift change of fortune is just around the corner.
“If any more opposing chairmen congratulate the Blues on their performance and standard of football and state that they don’t know why we haven’t won a game, I will throw myself off the pier,” he said in his programme notes.
“With the exception of one, each game has been lost by a single goal and in the exception we lost by two goals in stoppage time.
“I am not too despondent, the team is playing well and I feel it is only a matter of time before the results are achieved.”
Despite the sides’ contrasting fortunes in the league so far, there was little to choose between them as chances were at a premium in a tight first half.
Whitby’s Graeme Armstrong had the first crack at goal after some neat build-up play but the big frontman dragged his shot wide.
FC United threatened in the air with impressive centre back Adam Jones thumping a header goalwards from a deep corner but not enough to trouble Liversedge.
FC United’s Mike Norton had an unexpected chance to open the scoring from the type of slip-up that boss Darren Williams is so keen to stamp out.
Keeper Liversedge was dispossessed on the edge of the box by Norton who slid the ball right across the face of goal from an acute angle.
Whitby might have edged in front just before half-time had Shane Henry’s shot well struck shot from skipper Mark Robinson’s cross not been blocked en route to the top of the net.
The Blues’ man of the match Tom Portas then went close after the restart with a lung-bursting run forward before unleashing a skimming past keeper James Spencer but a fraction wide of the far post.
However, the Bury-based visitors got that stroke of luck which has agonisingly eluded Whitby so far this season on 58 minutes. Norton’s header from a deep cross from the right was tipped on to the bar by Liversedge but Matthew Wolfenden was on hand to convert the rebound.
Whitby instantly set out to level the scores and it took an alert stop from Spencer when Henry played a neat one-two with Nathan Mulligan before cracking a decent hit towards goal.
In one of Whitby’s slickest moves of the game, the ball was played out wide to sub Jamie Clarke, in his first game back at the Turnbull since arriving back from Darlington 1883. The veteran striker drove a smart ball across goal and it missed Robinson’s outstretched foot by millimetres.
Defender Alex White, fresh from scoring against AFC Fylde on Saturday, then strode forward and tried his luck with a speculative rocket which kept on rising.
With the introduction of Clarke, Whitby looked more creative but late substitutions combined with United players dramatising injuries to run down the clock ensured the visitors left with the three points, while Darren Williams’ men are left to rue what might have been.
Whitby Town: Liversedge, James, Robinson (c), Burgess, White, Portas, Hassan (Snaith), Tait, Armstrong (Clarke), Mulligan, Henry. Attendance: 482.
Whitby Town 0 FC United of Manchester 1