Play-offs now a way-off for Whitby

Whitby's Craig Farrell is horrified after being booked'picture: Brian Murfield
Whitby's Craig Farrell is horrified after being booked'picture: Brian Murfield
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Whitby Town paid the price for missed chances, a disallowed goal and some inspired goalkeeping, with a third successive defeat on Saturday, which crucially leaves them 13 points off the play-offs.

Stamford keeper Will Jones had to be alert to tip over Dave McTiernan’s ferocious 18-yard drive inside six minutes and saved at full stretch to keep out Craig Farrell’s 30-yard effort out of nothing.

Graeme Armstrong scores Whitby's goal'picture: Brian Murfield

Graeme Armstrong scores Whitby's goal'picture: Brian Murfield

Town player-boss Williams recalled Kev Burgess to a five-man defence, with Nathan Mulligan also returning as Tom Portas and Shane Henry made way.

Graeme Armstrong caught Stamford skipper Richard Jones in possession on 12 minutes, playing in Lee Mason, who dragged well wide. Soon after, a comedy of errors saw Emeka Nwadike clear against centre-half Jones’ backside leaving Farrell through on goal, but the ex-Blyth marksman sidefooted wide.

However, the 31-year-old did find the net on the half hour, beating keeper Jones with a far post diving header, only forreferee Geoff Liddle to rule out the goal for an apparent handball, Farrell angrily highlighting a ball-mark on his shirt to the referee but only succeeded in earning a yellow card.

Jones then blocked Farrell’s free-kick and pushed the loose ball away as McTiernan followed up, the Blues also came close in the final minute of the first half as Richard Pell nodded Mason’s left-wing corner back across goal, only for Farrell to poke over the top from six yards.

Whitby on the attack'picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby on the attack'picture: Brian Murfield

The wind was so strong that at one point a Bland goal-kick flew back past the keeper for a corner and the visitors used the advantage better, leading on 62 minutes when full-back Lewis Carr headed Dan Lawlor’s left-wing corner past Bland at the near post. At the other end, Pell overlapped down the right and fired into the side netting, only for the Lincolnshire outfit to double their lead, with 18 minutes remaining, when Jordan Smith beat Pell’s rash slide, cut in from the right and forced past Bland.

Lawlor’s low 30-yard grass-cutter almost sneaked inside Bland’s right-hand post, instead clipping the woodwork, while Jones saved brilliantly from Farrell’s goalbound free-kick, before Armstrong forced home what proved to be a consolation goal, his 26th strike of the season, from the resulting corner. Late on, there were Whitby shouts for handball as Mark Robinson’s drive was bravely blocked point-blank by Jason Field.

Williams was furious with Farrell’s strike being disallowed. “There’s never been a handball and it’s probably cost us the game.” he said.

It may also cost Town a play-off place, they now stand 13 points adrift of the top five.

Whitby Town boss Darren Williams (left) and assistant Dave Campbell watch on in Saturday's defeat to Stamford'picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby Town boss Darren Williams (left) and assistant Dave Campbell watch on in Saturday's defeat to Stamford'picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby Town: Bland, Hassan, Robinson (c), Bullock, Pell, McTiernan, Burgess, Mason, Armstrong, Farrell, Mulligan. Subs not used: Williams, Campbell (GK).

Stamford: W Jones, Carr, Field, Ashton, R Jones (c), Nwadike, Lawler, Robinson, Smith, Shariff, Richards. Subs not used: Challinor.

Attendance: 259

Whitby Town 1 Stamford 2