WHITBY Town’s barren run continued after a footballing lesson from high-flying Chester left the second-bottom Blues nine points adrift of safety, with a plummeting goal difference.
It’s an eighth successive defeat – something Town last suffered in August 1957 – and assistant manager David Campbell believes it’s down to a lack of effort from some, poor communication and a psychological rut.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “Unfortunately, it was a performance like the past four or five weeks – we said people need to look at themselves and the actual effort and application they’re putting into the game.
“We don’t seem to be tracking runners and picking people up very well.
“They could’ve been four or five up in the first 10 or 15 minutes.”
Campbell, who confirmed defender Tom Marron has left the club, added: “There’s obviously a lot of negativity within the team because of such a bad run and that first goal can be vitally important.
“If it goes in early, heads can go down again, no matter how hard you try, it can be a mental thing, that you hide in the game and then you’re on the back foot.”
Campbell also confirmed that former Blues striker Lee Ure (31) will be given the chance to train with the club this week. Ure has scored 55 goals in 197 games for Whitby.
Town have been held up in their attempts to sign another forward, but expect to complete the transfer and that of a Northern League midfielder, by the weekend.
Roared on by nearly 400 travelling supporters, Chester made a flying start and should have led inside the first three minutes. Matty McNeill’s through-ball for Chris Simm sprung the Town offside trap, only for the ex-Wrexham striker to poke past Campbell’s left-hand post, when one-on-one with the keeper.
Within seconds, the Cheshire side broke again. Luke Holden cut in from the left and forced Campbell to push the ball around the same post from the edge of the penalty area. From the corner, Michael Powell’s header down was cleared off his own goal-line by Ashley Lyth.
Simm scuffed a weak low effort straight at Campbell on six minutes, before missing a much easier chance, moments later.
McNeil strolled through the home defence, round Campbell and square for the 26-year-old striker, who was somehow prevented from finding an empty net by Lyth’s saving challenge.
However, the yellow tide finally breached the Blues’ backline and found the back of the net on 14 minutes as good work from McNeil released the impressive Holden, who slotted through Campbell’s legs from the left-edge of the box, for the opening goal.
The second-bottom Seasiders were struggling to get out of their own half, but finally won a free-kick around 20-yards from goal, just to the right of the D.
Former Darlington winger Jeff Smith, making his first appearance at the Turnbull, stepped up and forced John Danby into his first save of the match, with the ball curling towards the roof of the net.
Town could’ve had a man advantage soon after too as Holden dived in needlessly late on Blues’ skipper Mark Robinson, near the touchline on the Whitby left.
With players coming together in the aftermath, referee Matthew Diciccho brandished a yellow card for the former Charlton loanee and for Kev Burgess, who shoved Holden in the chest, after the initial challenge.
And the luck stayed with the visitors on 27 minutes as Simms threw himself to the ground after minimal contact from Alex White, giving the away side a perfect opportunity to double their lead, from the penalty spot. Matty McGinn stepped up and squeezed the ball low past Campbell’s right hand.
A rare Whitby break then saw Andy Leeson work the ball out to Callum Martin on the left and the former Hartlepool youngster brought another good stop from Danby, to prevent an angled drive slipping inside the keeper’s far post.
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But it was only a momentary distraction from the inevitable as promotion-chasing Chester made it 3-0, with left-back McGinn again on target.
The Scotsman intercepted a poor Smith pass on the left-edge of the Whitby box and curled past Campbell for his 10th goal of the season.
To their credit, despite being three goals down, Town gave it a go in the second half and White curled wide from 25 yards, within three minutes of the restart.
Matty Tymon, a spectator for much of the game, went off after picking up a head injury after an aerial collision that drew blood.
Darren Williams was furious on the sidelines, feeling an elbow was used.
As it was, 23-year-old Jake Faichney took Tymon’s place in a straight swap up front, but most of the action remained at the Whitby end as Liam Brownhill scuffed well wide after cutting in from the right and trying to emulate fellow full-back McGinn.
Iain Howard, who replaced Holden seconds before Faichney’s introduction, came close after finding space in the Seasiders’ six-yard box but White, this time, was able to hack off the line.
James Ellison came on for Simm, but seemed to inherit the former Southport striker’s eye for goal as he blasted over from point-blank range, following a lengthy goalmouth scramble.
With 12 minutes remaining, Faichney came close to pulling a goal back, hitting a shot as he fell, from the edge of the area, but the ball screwed narrowly wide. Smith then tested Danby with a 30-yard free-kick that was narrowly tipped over, with Martin hooking over the top, from the corner.
However, the visitors, who remain three points behind leaders Northwich, struck again, four minutes from time. Jerome Wright beat Lyth down the left wing and squared for Howard to turn home their easiest goal of the afternoon.
Whitby Town: D Campbell, Lyth, Robinson (c), White, Burgess, Hawkins (Williams 69), Martin, McTiernan, Tymon (Faichney 55), Leeson, Smith. Subs not used: Blackford, Hassan, Courtney (GK). Attendance: 652
Co-operative Whitby WTFC man of the match: Alex White