WHITBY Town’s search for a home win in 2011-12 goes on after throwing away a two-goal lead against Ashton, who grabbed a dramatic leveller five minutes into stoppage time, writes Andy Baxter.
And boss Tommy Cassidy was ordered from the dugout following an exchange with the referee for the late penalty which cost Whitby two vital points.
The home side started positively and played some attractive football, with Andy Campbell playing behind Matty Tymon up front.
In the ninth minute, a speculative 25-yard strike from Callum Martin flew well over the visitors’ bar and 6 minutes later at the other end, a long through ball beat the Whitby backline and saw the visitor’s towering striker, Chris Amadi, who was through one on one, embarrassingly hoof his shot over the top of the surrounding houses at the end of the ground.
David McTiernan, playing his 200th match for Whitby Town, struck a powerful 30-yard free-kick goal bound into the grateful arms of keeper Terry Smith.
But in the 21st minute, the Whitby man opened the scoring, following some sloppy defending from the visitors, as he moved to his right and drove a low shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Ashton, who looked rocky at the back, did come close to an equaliser in the 37th minute when the unmarked Ian Bennett at the edge of the area, struck a shot which flew inches over the bar.
The visitors emerged for the second period even more positive but were dealt a cruel blow in the 49th minute when a long through ball from Whitby captain, Mark Robinson, was headed back by defender Chris Rimmer past the advancing keeper Smith and the ball trickled in to the empty net to double Whitby’s lead.
After a challenge in the centre, Billy Blackford ended up on the ground, only for the Whitby youngster to be stretchered off with a suspected broken collar bone and replaced by a new player making his debut, Ross Gardner.
Despite being 2-0 down, visitors were now in the ascendency and the Whitby rearguard coped well with the onslaught, including a superb save from Campbell which denied powerful striker Amadi’, angled shot and seconds later a low drive from Peter Wright. But Campbell could do nothing about Ashton’s 75th minute goal when a ball played back at the edge of the box was latched on to by the incoming Jon Bathurst who crashed home from eight yards.
Ashton believed they could get something from this game but with seven minutes left, the Greater Manchester side’s man of the match Matty O’Neill was sent off for the first time in his career for an untimely tackle.
Following the earlier injury delay with Blackford, the referee signalled five additional minutes, which had almost ended when a short corner was handled in the Whitby box for a penalty, netted by Peter Wright despite Campbell getting fingertips to the ball.
After the game, Cassidy said: “It was our own fault they got their two goals – one we simply gave them with the back pass and the other, we just fell asleep for the short corner.
“We played well for 60 minutes and then needlessly threw away two points to just end up with the draw.
“It was very frustrating them getting the penalty after we were denied one in the first half for a blatant push which the referee said he didn’t see. It’s very frustrating when we should have won this game.”
Co-operative Whitby man of the match: David McTiernan