Nine-man Blues battle back for point at Stafford

Whitby Town
Whitby Town

Nine-man Whitby Town completed a herculean comeback in a dramatic second half at Stafford Rangers, grabbing a late 2-2 draw.

The hosts took a 2-0 lead into half-time, following a poor first period from both teams, thanks to goals from Robert Thompson-Brown and Joe Thomas.

Whitby hit back on the hour mark through a Lewis Maloney penalty, before captain Steven Snaith saw red for reacting to being held down by Kyle Perry on half way.

Things then went from bad to worse for the Seasiders, as Andy Monkhouse received his second yellow card of the afternoon for a challenge on Dan Vann, while Thompson-Brown was also given his marching orders for dissent.

The drama continued into the dying moments, with substitute Callum Patton grabbing a late equaliser to complete the comeback.

Chris Hardy was forced into two changes from the side that thumped Halesowen Town, Andrew May and Callum Martin replacing the injured James Fairley (dead leg) and Luke Bythway (knee) respectively.

First halves for the Seasiders in recent weeks have all had a very similar feel, and this was no different, with both sides slogging out a dull affair.

However, the difference was just two pieces of quality from the hosts, the first coming on 22 minutes.

Kevin Burgess conceded a free-kick 25 yards from the Blues' goal, and Thompson-Brown wasted no time in stepping up, curling the ball into the top corner beyond the reach of Jack Norton.

On the stroke of half-time, the quality was on show again. Thomas took the ball on the left hand side from Joshua Craddock's header before shaking off Weledji and curling home from 18 yards.

Oasis' 'The Masterplan' rang out at half-time, and with the recent second half showings, you got the sense that Hardy had another one of those up his sleeves, and though he did, his side went about implementing it the hard way.

But on the hour mark, after a slow start to proceedings after the break, the Blues were handed a lifeline after Weledji was fouled by Levi Reid in the penalty area.

Lewis Maloney stepped up from the spot, and confidently sent Adam Whitehouse the wrong way to pull Whitby back into the game.

However a mad 15 minutes was to follow, with three red cards shown; two for the Seasiders and one for Stafford.

Thompson-Brown went close to restoring the two-goal advantage from twenty yards shortly after the penalty, though his effort was deflected wide by May.

Just two minutes later, however, Whitby found themselves down to ten men. Snaith's tackle saw him and Perry in a heap on the floor, with the Boro man holding Snaith down.

The Blues skipper retaliated and hit out at Perry in front of the referee, seeing a straight red card for his actions, walking with acquiesce as he left the pitch.

And it went from bad to worse ten minutes later as Monkhouse joined his midfield partner in the stands, after a soft foul which prompted Wayne Barrett to show him a second yellow card, ending his afternoon.

In the melee that followed though, Stafford found themselves down to ten men after Thompson-Brown made his opinions clear to Mr Barratt, seeing a second yellow himself for dissent.

The drama wasn't to end there, and after changing things up, nine-man Whitby pushed forward in search of a deserved equaliser, and found one in the second minute of injury time.

A ball forward was taken down by Patton, who held up well before shooting on the turn. The ball took a huge deflection over a helpless Whitehouse, looping up and into the net to ensure that the Seasiders took a share of the spoils back to North Yorkshire.

Stafford Rangers: Whitehouse, Griffiths (L. Reid '46), K. Westwood, Vann, Brown, Craddock (C), Thomas, Sheratt, Perry, I. Reid, Thompson-Brown. Subs not used: Abadaki, D. Westwood, Platt, Caswell.

Whitby Town: Norton, Weledji, McWilliams, Burgess, May, Snaith (C), Monkhouse, Mondal, Tymon (Hume '90+2), Maloney (Fryatt '86), Martin (Patton '76). Subs not used: Poole, Dixon (GK).

Attendance: 413

Whitby Town MotM: Matthew Tymon - excellent performance on his own up top. Hard-working and determined to chase every ball down whilst linking up well with the three behind him