Blues beaten at Rushall

Lee Mason was on target in the Blues' 3-1 defeat at Rushall Olympic
Lee Mason was on target in the Blues' 3-1 defeat at Rushall Olympic

A first-half horror show saw Whitby Town slump to a 3-1 defeat at Rushall Olympic on Saturday.

Three goals in 16 first half minutes settled this contest with the Seasiders dropping into the Evo-Stik NPL Premier’s bottom two after a run of one win in 15 league matches.

Darren Williams admitted he was concerned about his future as manager as the Blues’ barren spell continued, and the Blues chief released a group of players over the weekend, following this result.

“[They were] poor goals to concede, but I honestly felt we were the better team,” he told the Whitby Gazette.

“But if you give away cheap goals, you don’t give yourself a chance.

“We will turn this around but we need everyone behind us on this.”

Williams made three changes from the side that lost 3-1 at home to Hyde three days earlier. Attacking midfielder Lee Mason was recalled in place of the injured Thibault Charmey, skipper Mark Robinson replaced Callum Martin and there was a return from long-term injury for big centre-half Richard Pell, as Town reshuffled with striker James Brown absent through work.

Back in their regular wing-back set-up, Town’s five-man defence had little to cope with until the 17th minute when Shane Bland touched over Jake Duggan’s rising far post shot from Kris Taylor’s right-wing corner.

The hosts won a series of corners and the pressure finally told, four minutes later. Ryan Edmunds’ driven left-wing ball found its way under Liam Shepherd’s boot as the centre-half tried to clear and Massiah McDonald was on hand to fire home from the edge of the box, despite a good hand on the ball from the diving Bland.

Bland held well from Nick Wright’s ferocious 25-yard effort before the Pics doubled their advantage just after the half hour. Edmunds exchanged passes with Carl Palmer who had an age to pick his spot, across Bland, and inside the keeper’s left-hand post.

The home blitz continued with Edmunds hurdling Lee Bullock’s uncharacteristically mistimed slide tackle and pulling back for McDonald to power into the bottom right corner from the same edge of the Blues’ box.

Having struggled to create anything of note in the opening 40 minutes, the visitors suddenly roared into life. Ryan Brobbel played a pinpoint through ball for Mikey Roberts to race into the Rushall half only for Dean Coleman to save with his left leg one-on-one.

Undeterred, Town came again and Shepherd latched onto Coleman’s sliced clearance and fired across the face of goal where skipper Duggan headed off his own goal line and Coleman parried brilliantly, point-blank for Dave McTiernan’s follow up.

The Blues were not to be denied, however, and Brobbel’s cross picked out Mason on the right-edge of the home penalty area. The former Blyth star was adjudged to have got the last touch, despite Roberts swinging a boot at the same loose ball, and beat Coleman low to his right for 3-1, two minutes before half-time.

Town then began the second half as they finished the first, sent out early by Williams, the Seasiders forced Coleman to tip over as Mason produced a stinging 20-yard half-volley, two minutes into the restart.

Rushall dominated for the rest of the match. Heath’s 12-yard shot was delected wide before Bland parried low to his left from the same player’s low effort.

Up for a left-wing corner Duggan forced Bland to save spectacularly from close range with Bullock reacting brilliantly to head over the defender’s powerful rebound.

Ex-Middlesbrough frontman Scott McCarthy replaced Shepherd as Town went 4-3-3 but it was Richard Sneekes’ side who continued to push down the accelerator. With 20 minutes left, Cypriot full-back Aris Christophorou overlapped down the right and unleashed a ferocious effort from the right edge of the box that was met with an equally impressive parry from Bland.

The Blues keeper was at it again, 13 minutes from time as he saved Heath’s central, 20-yard free-kick, low to his left and McDonald improvised from the rebound with a close range mule kick that spun wide.

Things went from terrible to worse for the away side soon after as Mason’s break to the right-edge of the box was halted by referee Mr Husband who handed McTiernan a second yellow card following an off the ball incident.

Right at the end, home substitute Alex Reid broke at pace, forcing Bland to block with his legs and Pell to head the resulting follow-up, from the same player, off the well-trodden Whitby goal-line.