Whitby suffered a first home defeat of the season on Saturday, conceding five goals to Stamford in the process.
Blues boss Darren Williams offered no excuses for the result, taking to social media to apologise to supporters for his team’s performance, after the game.
The town gaffer made five changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Ramsbottom United, three days earlier. Defenders Ibby Hassan and Richard Pell were available again, while strikers James Brown and Scott McCarthy were brought in for a first start of the season and for the club, respectively.
After Shane Bland’s midweek hamstring injury, Town moved to bring in another goalkeeper from Middlesbrough, on Friday afternoon, with the Championship side loaning 19-year-old Joe Fryer for a debut.
The teen’s first act as a Blues player was to pick the ball out of his own net as the Daniels led inside three minutes. Former Grantham and Kings Lynn marksman Gregg Smith is a regular nemesis for the Seasiders and he found space to volley home from six yards.
The stocky Smith also introduced Fryer to the physical side of Evo-Stik NPL football, earning a booking for jumping into the gloveman as he collected a misplaced cross.
Whitby quickly roared back into the contest, within three minutes however, through another Boro connection.
McCarthy came through the youth ranks at the Riverside club and he made and scored the goal all by himself as he skipped along the byline, after cutting in off the left flank and beat keeper Richard Knight at his near post.
Town then turned the game on its head in the final minute of the first half as Hassan continued his run after exchanging passes with Kieran Weledji and crossed low for McCarthy to slide past Knight from close range.
Meanwhile Stamford’s St Kitts international Ryan Robbins was making few friends at the Turnbull Ground. Many thought he went to ground easily as referee Mr Jan Suchecki produced two yellow cards as Lee Bullock and skipper Mark Robinson fell victim to the marksman’s theatrics.
These actions may well have contributed to the away side’s leveller on the stroke of half-time. Robbins got in behind Bullock, on the left-edge of the box, rounded Fryer- with both Whitby players seemingly nervous to make any contact with the forward- who then showed the other side of his game with a superb finish, from the byline, clipping in off the inside of the far post.
To make matters worse for Williams’ men, they again fell victim to a strike early in the second half, as the club from Lincolnshire’s southern-most town went back ahead within five minutes of the restart.
Following on from Ramsbottom’s strike on the break just days earlier, it was Andy Hall who popped up, on the edge of the Whitby box, to steer across Fryer and inside the youngster’s right-hand post.
At the other end, Blues top scorer Mikey Roberts came close with a free-kick from a tough angle, in off the left, that Knight had to be alert to claw over the bar. Williams then replaced Bullock with Callum Martin, as Weledji moved into his usual centre role and the new introduction went wide right.
A tall side, Stamford showed their aerial strength repeatedly and skipper Richard Jones twice came close with looping headers that dropped inches over the Whitby bar, Fryer then just about fumbled Robbins’ low drive wide.
Williams threw on fit-again Lee Mason for a first appearance of the new season, in place of Adam Gell in an attacking midfield move, but the away side’s power told again, 20 minutes from time. On this occcasion, it was Antiguan striker Jordan Smith who nodded in unmarked, off the underside of the crossbar, from a right-wing corner.
Matty Waters replaced Brown up front and even beanpole centre-half Pell was thrown upfield in a four man strikeforce for the struggling Seasiders. Four minutes from time, McCarthy fed a neat ball between left-back and centre-half, only for Roberts to drive straight at Knight.
For Stamford, attacking right-back Jon Challinor powered an angled drive narrowly off target and substitute Nathan Hicks, on for Gregg Smith, made sure of the points as he slotted in on the break, in the first of seven minutes’ injury time for 5-2.
The added allocation was down to full-back Eddy Samba having to be stretchered from the field, leaving David Staff’s team down to ten men, with all three changes made. Despite their three-goal lead, the away side looked nervy, perhaps still haunted by a recent 4-3 defeat to Ashton United, which saw them squander a 3-1 lead.
This mood wasn’t helped when Mason drilled between Knight and his right-hand post, two minutes later. It would’ve certainly made for a grandstand finish if the ex-Blyth man had converted again from an identical position, moments later, but Knight got down well to clutch the ball as his side also clung on, for victory.
Whitby Town: Fryer, Hassan, Robinson (c), Bullock (Martin 60), Weledji, McTiernan, Pell, Gell (Mason 69), Roberts, McCarthy, Brown (Waters 75). Subs not used: Shepherd, R Gardner.
Co-operative Whitby WTFC Man of the Match: Scott McCarthy
Match Sponsor: The Royal Hotel, Whitby
Matchball Sponsor: The Kaye Family