WHITBY Town fell to only their second defeat in 12 EvoStik League matches after leaders North Ferriby proved too strong and slick for them on Wednesday night.
Darren Williams’ men were up against it after gifting the Humberside outfit a two-goal lead early on despite the best efforts of two-goal Craig Farrell to turn things around.
In-form Craig Farrell, whose twin strikes took him second in the division’s scoring charts with only Ferriby’s hat-trick hero, Ryan Kendall, ahead on 26 goals, told the Whitby Gazette he was relieved when he netted spectacularly against Stocksbridge last weekend, alongside Wednesday’s brace.
“I’d scored in seven consecutive games and you want to score every game when you’ve been on a run like that,” said the 30-year-old.
“I was unhappy with myself, against Buxton, it’s nice to put things right quickly.
“We’ve picked up a lot of points in the last 10 games and we’ve got to be pleased with ourselves for that.
“Ferriby are a good side, they’re there for a reason, but I don’t think we did ourselves justice - you can’t concede four goals at home and expect to get a result.”
Farrell debuted at the Turnbull Ground, on 1 December, seven days after a 3-1 defeat at Ilkeston’s New Manor Ground and netted the winner against another Derbyshire side, Matlock Town.
Table-toppers Ferriby took the lead on seven minutes on Wednesday when a free-kick was floated over to the back post and Gregg Anderson to head home unchallenged.
Worse was to follow as the Blues were left hopelessly exposed by a long ball over the top and prolific ex-Bradford City finisher Kendall calmly lobbed keeper Nick Liversedge to double the lead and leave Whitby with an early mountain to climb.
The Blues came close to pulling one back almost instantly. When a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the box, Farrell’s curling effort clipped the top of the bar.
But the former Blyth Spartans striker hit a more emphatic finish from a similar position, finding a gap in the wall from another free-kick to reduce the arrears on 20 minutes.
An incident-packed first half almost saw Shane Henry on the scoresheet for the second game running, but the combative midfielder’s strike bounced back into play off the foot of the post with keeper Adam Nicklin rooted to the spot.
Ferriby restored their two-goal lead on 36 minutes with another impressive effort from Kendall, whose weaving run allowed him space to place a neat finish into the far corner for 3-1.
Again the Blues refused to let their opponents run away with things and again it was Farrell who rounded Nicklin and tucked home Whitby’s second from close range.
Ferriby were strangely content to keep conceding free-kicks in dangerous areas, with Graeme Armstrong a regular target for their cynicism.
When one Farrell blockbuster was blocked by the wall, Ashley Corker’s follow-up whizzed narrowly wide.
The visitors should have made the game safe – Kendall spurned an easy chance to complete his treble when he could only pick out Liversedge with a free shot while Ryan Williams’ effort as bravely blocked by Whitby’s Ibby Hassan.
But Ferriby closed the game out after being awarded a penalty for a push – and Kendall confidently swept home the spot-kick to keep their title assault on track.
Whitby Town: Liversedge, Hassan, Robinson (c), Burgess, Purewal, McTiernan (Snaith 81), Portas, Henry, Farrell, Armstrong, Corker (Mulligan 79). Attendance: 242.
Whitby Town 2 North Ferriby 4
* more pictures in Friday’s Whitby Gazette