Whitby sink to bottom after home defeat

Whitby Town player / manager Darren Williams begins the inquest after Skelmersdale net in Saturday's 2-0 defeat'picture: Brian Murfield
Whitby Town player / manager Darren Williams begins the inquest after Skelmersdale net in Saturday's 2-0 defeat'picture: Brian Murfield
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Another poor performance saw Whitby Town go bottom of the Evo-Stik NPL Premier on Saturday.

Player-boss Darren Williams made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Curzon Ashton in midweek.

Skipper Mark Robinson leaps highest for Whitby Town'picture: Brian Murfield

Skipper Mark Robinson leaps highest for Whitby Town'picture: Brian Murfield

He added himself to the defence in Lee Bullock’s absence due to injury and Richard Pell being away, also giving a first start to Whitby lad Sam Calvert up front and handing midfielder Dale Hopson a debut.

The experienced Bullock (33), who has been coaching the Seasiders, patrolled the bench as Williams’ equivalent with assistant Dave Campbell also missing.

Unlike the first two games of the season, Town started brightly and came agonisingly close when an attempted clearance caught the unflinching Hopson full in the face and Ross Gardner rattled the crossbar with the loose ball, from 25 yards.

So it was against the run of play when the visitors took the lead on 14 minutes.

A superb passing move saw Connor McCarthy backheel for Danny Mitchley to slot under keeper Shane Bland, though questions will be asked as to the space afforded to the pair.

Williams then nodded towering defender Rob Bodie’s goalbound header off the line and stabbed behind a loose ball in the Blues box from the resulting corner.

At the other end, Calvert took advantage as Rob McIntosh misjudged the bounce from a long ball and bore down on goal, laying back for Craig Farrell who dummied the ball, but the shot was scuffed off target from the edge of the box. Martin Fearon then saved low to his left from Liam Shepherd’s poked effort.

Fearon blocked again, this time with his legs, just after the half hour, as Hopson, signed from Darlington last Friday, released the lively Calvert, who drilled a low near-post drive, after cutting in from the left flank.

Meanwhile, Bland continued his good early-season form, smothering low to his left, eight minutes before half time, to deny Tom Ince.

Town began the second half 1-0 down as they have in every game so far, but lacked the purpose of those two previous outings with Mitchley twice coming close on the turn with Farrell bringing a good save from Fearon in-between.

Striker Steven Snaith made his return from suspension just before the hour, as Gardner made way and the Blues went with three up front. However, the action was at the other end of the field with Bland doing well to fend away when Mitchley beat two before testing the Blues gloveman.

But the pressure was too much as Ibby Hassan, playing an unfamiliar centre half role, brought down Ince on the edge of the penalty area.

Referee Rebecca Welsh produced a yellow card and Ince himself fired in the ultimate punishment as he swerved the free-kick low past Bland’s right hand.

Williams sacrificed himself for Anthony Callaghan as the Blues tried wing-backs and an ambitious 3-4-3 formation for the final half hour.

Calvert poked into the side netting first-time from 20 yards and the teenager should have grabbed a late consolation in the final minute.

Fearon came out to close a long ball but ended up stranded with Farrell miscontrolling. Calvert followed up, but side-footed wide with the keeper nowhere.

The last act of the clash saw the lively Callaghan deliver a deep left-wing cross but Farrell headed wide when well placed.

Speaking after the match, Williams told the Whitby Gazette: “It’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not how we wanted to start the season.

“We switched off and didn’t track runners and that cost us.

“We’ve been lazy and because we haven’t done our jobs, we’ve been beaten 2-0.”

Whitby Town 0 Skelmersdale 2