Whitby Town’s FA Cup adventure begins

Richard Pell nods home Whitby's second goal against Ramsbottom'picture: Brian Murfield

Richard Pell nods home Whitby's second goal against Ramsbottom'picture: Brian Murfield

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Whitby Town take on former Northern League adversaries Shildon for the 124th time on Saturday (Sep 13), in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.

The two sides met in the same competition, seven years ago, at the Turnbull Ground, when Town won 3-2 thanks to a Danny Brunskill brace and Tony Hackworth’s strike.

Liam Shepherd wrestles for the ball in Wednesday night's 2-0 win over Ramsbotoom'picture: Brian Murfield

Liam Shepherd wrestles for the ball in Wednesday night's 2-0 win over Ramsbotoom'picture: Brian Murfield

It’s the Seasiders’ first trip to the County Durham club’s Dean Street home since the Northern League and FA Vase double-winning season when Graham Robinson netted to earn a 1-1 draw in April 1997.

The recent upper hand is the Blues’ with just two defeats in the last 20 meetings of the sides, who first clashed in 1933.

Back then, Shildon were the team on top with 16 wins and two draws in an unbeaten run that extended beyond the Second World War.

Overall, Town have 54 wins to the Railwaymen’s 42, with 27 draws. Shildon are currently second in the Northern League First Division, with their only defeat, this season, coming at Guisborough Town, 1-0, last week.

Who me? A Ramsbottom player protests his innocence after a clash'picture: Brian Murfield

Who me? A Ramsbottom player protests his innocence after a clash'picture: Brian Murfield

Gary Forrest’s men include five ex-Blues in defender Darren Craddock, midfield trio Sam Hodgson, Adam Rundle and Sam Garvie, plus marksman Michael Rae. Even first-team coach Phil Brumwell had a spell as joint player-manager with the Seasiders.

Town go into the game unbeaten in five after back-to-back wins, this week, they also have defender Kev Burgess back from a one-match suspension.

Fellow centre-back Richard Pell came off with a knock on Wednesday, but otherwise, boss Darren Williams should have a full side to choose from for the relatively short trip.

A supporters’ coach leaves the Turnbull Ground at noon on Saturday, with seats just £10 each. Due to high demand, fans wanting to travel with the club must ring chairman Graham Manser on 07966 241344 to book in advance.

If the match ends in a draw, a replay will take place at the Turnbull Ground on Wednesday night with a 7.45pm kick-off.

Otherwise, Town travel to Derbyshire on Tuesday in Evo-Stik League action as Matlock provide the opposition.

Mark Atkins’ men have failed to score in their last three games, holding fancied FC United and high-flying neighbours Ilkeston to goal-less draws and losing out 1-0 at Frickley Athletic. They’ve also drawn with Blyth Spartans, Trafford and nearby Belper, claiming their only victory of the campaign 3-1 over Barwell.

They sit a point and five places below the Blues and also have a neutral goal difference.

In the corresponding fixture, last season, Whitby lost 2-0 in a bad-tempered clash that saw them reduced to nine men when Dave McTiernan and Steven Snaith were dismissed- the Gladiators had Cecil Nyoni dismissed in the same incident.

A supporters’ coach leaves the Turnbull at 2.30pm, with seats for the scenic North Midlands destination still just £10 each.