Whitby lad so close to glorious send-off

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Whitby lad Matty Brown came within a whisker of a fitting send-off in the last minute of his final game in a Blues jersey.

The youngster had a great chance to earn Whitby a deserved share of the spoils against promotion-chasing Buxton but nodded agonisingly wide from Richard Pell’s last-gasp volleyed cross.

Brown had been brought on for skipper Mark Robinson with 10 minutes to go. The script could not have been written any better which made the miss all the more disappointing.

Boss Darren Williams said after the game: “It was a great chance for Matty. I sent him on and said ‘try and get yourself a goal for a send-off’ type of thing and when the opportunity came for him I thought that was it, but unfortunately he didn’t hit the target.

“We didn’t play as well as we did at Ilkeston but we got a great chance at the end and I think a draw would have been a fair result.”

The Blues kept their opponents quiet in a close but largely uneventful first 45 minutes .

As proved last week at Ilkeston, Whitby are more than capable of matching any of the top sides over 90 minutes.

What was glaringly obvious, however, was a lack of cutting edge up front.

It took the home side until midway through the first half to register their first shot, and when Dale Hopson received a cute pass in the box, his first-time effort was deflected into the side netting.

Striker Steve Snaith should have done better when he did well to control a long searching ball into the box but instead of having a shot, cut inside and could only direct a harmless effort at visiting keeper Josh Ollernshaw.

Whitby were then reprieved twice in a frantic first half spell. First, Robinson was in the right spot to clear Neil Stevens’ goalbound header off the line.

Then it was keeper Shane Bland’s turn. Having caught the ankles of prolific marksman Liam Hardy, conceding a penalty, Bland got down quickly to his right to beat away Craig King’s spot-kick.

The lively Hopson was close to putting the hosts in front seven minutes after the interval, bending a free-kick over the Buxton wall and only inches the wrong side of the far post.

Bland then had to be alert to pull off a smart reaction save when a probing cross found the head of Stevens.

With Brown introduced into the action in the hope of grabbing the headlines, it was Buxton who finally claimed the opener with just nine minutes left on the clock.

Hardy found some space with a creative turn and rolled the ball across goal for colleague Shaun Tuton. He teed up a left-footed chance and tucked it home to show why the Derbyshire side are towards the top of the table.

Whitby then came within a hair’s breadth of salvaging a 90th minutes point courtesy of home-grown talent Brown, but fate decided to deal a cruel blow.

Whitby Town: Bland, Shepherd, Robinson (c) (M Brown 71), Burgess, Pell, McTiernan, Doran, Hopson (Waters 80), Brown, Snaith (Nolan 68), Hassan.

Attendance: 366.

WTFC man of the match: Kev Burgess.

Whitby Town 0 Buxton 1