Blues beaten at Stourbridge

Dave McTiernan was sent off as Whitby Town lost at Stourbridge on Saturday
Dave McTiernan was sent off as Whitby Town lost at Stourbridge on Saturday

Whitby Town conceded two goals in 12 minutes as they lost out in a ‘game of two halves’ at Stourbridge on Saturday.

They do however remain outside the Evo-Stik Premier Division’s bottom four, with their safety in their own hands after Hyde United ’s 2-1 defeat at Buxton.

The Seasiders’ final trip of the season was also their longest, with nearly 200 miles to cover, down to the West Midlands.

However, as at Colwyn Bay, four days earlier, there was a vocal support backing Chris Hardy’s men.

The Blues boss made one change from the side that relegated the Welsh side with a 4-1 thumping.

Jamie Poole’s hamstring strain meant a recall for midfielder McTiernan, who missed Tuesday’s long trip, as Callum Martin returned to the right flank and Kieran Weledji to the centre of defence.

Whitby started brightly and Mikey Roberts’ perseverance saw him rob Chris Lait and go clear on the right-edge of the home penalty area, his angled drive was charged down by covering full-back Kristian Green.

The home side had plenty of possession but time and again their passing was off and a dogged Blues outfit intercepted.

The visitors came close when Matt Gould’s attempted clearance struck Roberts and looped towards goal, where Stourbridge skipper Sean Pierpoint, hanging back on the goal-line, was perfectly placed to clear.

Roberts’ strike partner Anthony Hume then came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock as the ball dropped for him on the left-edge of the Stourbridge box.

The ex-Blyth forward caught Gould out with a deft lob that beat the glove-man only to come back off the crossbar.

A further blow for the Blues saw Kieran Weledji forced off with a leg injury, as Poole was pressed back into action.

The same passage of play saw Roberts stay down after a challenge, but after treatment on the sideline, attempt to run the knock off.

Stourbridge, nicknamed the Glassboys due to the long history of glass making in the town, had their best chance, just before half-time.

The lively Chris Lait got down the left wing and ,as Shane Bland came to narrow the angle, he fired across the Blues keeper and inches away from the onrushing Karl Hawley, at the far post.

The second half opened with tame efforts from decent positions from Roberts then Dale Hopson, comfortably clutched by Gould.

Roberts’ first-half knock then proved too much for the 24-goal marksman to shake off and he made way for Matty Waters within ten minutes of the restart.

Stourbridge looked stronger after the interval and took the lead, on the hour, when Lait exchanged passes with Green down the right before finding space just inside the Blues box and slamming into the roof of the net.

McTiernan and Sean Geddes were having a real battle in the centre of the park. The pair had a shoving match on halfway that saw Geddes go down holding his face, only for referee Nick Hobbis to take no further action.

Hardy replaced Hume with Tyler Scarth for the final 25 minutes, but it was to little avail as the hosts continued to press their play-off claims.

Richard Pell slid in near the right byline and Bland came to collect the ball, only to fumble, allowing Justin Richards, who impressed many, to turn and chip into the top-left corner, with the young stopper stranded.

Things then threatened to boil over with McTiernan fortunate to go uncarded after throwing out a right arm at Geddes.

The diminutive midfielder, who reportedly celebrated in McTiernan’s face was running things in the centre of the park, but was wisely subbed by his manager, as McTiernan slid in on Green and received a straight red card.

It seemed a decision influenced by pressure from the crowd and home players surrounding the official, with the Whitby man’s first two infringements much stronger than what appeared an innocuous low, slide tackle, where some studs may have been showing.

Bland blocked well his legs from Hawley, with Town unable to make much progress at the other end.

Hardy admitted later that he would have replaced McTiernan as temperatures rose, but for substitutions already being made, and Stourbridge comfortably hung on to move up to fourth in the table.