WHITBY Town finally ended their losing streak but player/manager Darren Williams was unhappy with the three “sloppy defensive errors” which gifted their Sheffield-based visitors all their goals, writes Andy Baxter.
He said it felt more like a defeat and that he didn’t see it as one point gained but two points lost.
He said that Whitby - now bottom of the table - should have put more balls in to the box for the bigger players, like Jamie Clarke and that it was a catalogue of wrong decisions in the last third of the pitch that cost the team a much-needed win.
Whitby started this game with the welcome return of Jimmy Beadle and others making their home debuts included Andy Appleby, Jamie Clarke and Tom Portas. The home side starting positively until the first of their night’s defensive blunders following a wayward back pass from Portas which gave the visitors a corner. This was flicked on and scuffed over the line from the unchallenged Brian Cusworth with only six minutes gone.
Although Whitby lifted themselves and played some attractive passing football, their first notable effort fell in the 15th minute with a free-kick from Jimmy Beadle - making a welcome return after playing in Sweden - headed over the bar by Kevin Burgess.
The new-look Whitby team were starting to gel and having most of the play and were rewarded in the 23rd minute when Stocksbridge defender and captain, Brett Lovell, tripped forward in the area and handled the ball for a penalty. Mark Robinson sent keeper Ben Scott the wrong way to gave level the score.
Shortly after the restart the ball ended at the feet of Beadle on the half way line who spotted the Steels keeper slightly out of his goal to strike a “Beckham-esque” long range effort at goal seeing the ball touched by the keeper but not enough to stop it going in the net for a 2-1 lead.
But Whitby let their guard down in the 29th minute when once again, non-existent defending saw Cusworth strike from the edge of the area through a crowd of players and in for an equaliser. The only other notable effort of the half fell to Whitby’s Dave McTiernan whose 20-yard effort on the stroke of half time went close.
Almost straight from the start of the second half, Steels forced a corner and the low, powerful cross which should have been cleared, went into four of five statue-esque Whitby defenders and allowing Jack Muldoon to tap in unhindered from close range, much to the disgust of Whitby keeper, Dave Campbell.
Stocksbridge then seemed to get the run of luck and Whitby couldn’t get close to goal, until a well-struck 20 yard effort from Jamie Clarke forced keeper Scott into a full stretch save. In the 67th minute, Ibby Hassan limped off the field with an ankle injury to be replaced by Alex White who, after arriving on the field, saw more poor defending by his team result in Cusworth striking a shot across goal narrowly wide.
But, with 74 minutes gone, Whitby got a lifeline as Kevin Davies was judged to handle the ball in his area and Robinson placed the ball for his second penalty. This time, he blasted the spot kick two yards over the bar.
For those that have seen Whitby on other occasions this season, their “second half syndrome” was once again evident, whereby Whitby looked the weaker of the two teams, particularly with some erratic passing and needless errors.
But despite their poor second half showing, they did equalise in the 84th minute, again from a corner which found Appleby at the back of the area and he struck the ball low in to the visitors’ net.
Whitby should have ended up winning if it had not been for their charitable donation of three sloppy goals to the visitors and based on the first half, this was a much better team performance than of late as long as they can stopping giving away goals needlessly.
Whitby Town: Campbell, Lyth, Robinson, Hassan (White 67), Burgess, McTiernan (Martin 84), Appleby, Beadle, Clarke, Portas, Smith. Subs not used: Tymon, Leeson, Williams. Attendance: 224
Whitby Town 3 Stocksbridge 3