SLEIGHTS lost out at league leaders Falsgrave in a fiery affair at Oliver’s Mount on Saturday.
The referee somehow managed to avoid using cards despite a number of tasty challenges and exchanges between players amid the Arctic conditions.
Sleights did themselves no favours by falling behind when Rich Tolliday overlapped down the right and caught the visitors cold inside the first two minutes.
Only dogged defending and poor finishing kept the visitors in it with clear-cut chances at a premium as Paul Hicks fought manfully as the lone striker.
Player-boss James Howard changed things around in the second half, with Mark McCarthy pushed further forward to support Hicks.
The away side won a number of corners and from Dave Webster’s quickly-taken set piece, Marc Kipling was unlucky to be denied by Rich Curtis’ fine reaction save.
Despite their pressure, Sleights were caught again when Cameron Malcolm was left with a tap-in after rounding Richard Coulson and further goals from Malcolm and Tolliday gave the scoreline a flattering look for the hosts.
Howard told the Whitby Gazette: “We were tactically spot on today.
“If one of our chances had been buried in the second half, we would have gone from strength to strength.
“Instead, we lacked concentration, composure and acted a little naively.
“Today was about learning for the bigger picture, to correct ourselves for a cup semi final versus the same opposition.”
The two sides will meet again in the last four of the Frank White Trophy in the New Year.
Sleights FC: Coulson, Gookal, Locker (c), Hardy, Howard (Christopher 65), Fawcett, I Smith (Gill 70), McCarthy (Ingham 74), Hicks, Webster, Kipling. Man of the match: Dom Gookal. Club sponsor: The Little Angel.
Falsgrave 4 Sleights 0