PROMOTION-chasing North Ferriby United humbled Whitby Town on Tuesday night, allowing rivals Frickley to move above them without even kicking a ball.
It was the Blues’ heaviest defeat in 23 years – Blyth Spartans doled out a 7-0 thumping during Town’s old Northern League days, back in February 1988.
Manager Tommy Cassidy called the result “embarrassing” and was disappointed with individual defensive errors that cost the Blues dear.
Cassidy made two enforced changes with John McReady back at Darlington and skipper Tony Hackworth out with a ligament injury.
Ged Dalton made his first start since September while former Blyth Spartans left-back Alex White, on loan from Workington, was given a debut.
Both sides tried their luck from distance early on with Ferriby’s Chris Bolder slamming wide from 20 yards and Town’s Chris Batchelor losing pace on his snapshot from further out thanks to a defender’s boot, allowing ex-Hull City keeper Steve Wilson to claim comfortably.
The hosts led on 12 minutes when Russell Fry picked out Gary Bradshaw, whose perfect first touch on the left edge of the Whitby box, was swiftly followed by a neat turn and low drive across Dave Campbell and into the bottom right corner of the net.
Ibby Hassan went in the book after a rash late challenge just outside the box, moments later, but the resulting free-kick was curled into Campbell’s hands.
At the other end, Kevin Burgess stayed forward after a corner and put over a tempting cross that Andy Leeson could only head straight at Wilson from the far post.
Bradshaw came close again, firing wide from an acute angle, before Scott forced a good save from Wilson, after a good one-touch build up involving Leeson.
However, the home side who move into the play-off positions with this victory, doubled their advantage as Bradshaw’s step over deceived right-back Ashley Lyth and Chris White somehow slammed past Campbell from near the left touchline.
The former Frickley winger soon added a fortunate second, five minutes before the interval.
Bolder chipped over a cross and the ex-Sheffield Wednesday Academy player somehow got the ball up and over Campbell from the fringe of the box and into the net.
Jimmy Beadle then summed up the first period for Whitby, a minute from time.
After some more good quick passing, the former York City midfielder and Town’s top scorer last term, slammed wastefully over the bar from the right-edge of the penalty area.
At the beginning of the second half, Whitby were out a few moments before their hosts and assembled around veteran goalkeeper Dave Campbell.
The 40-year-old gloveman, who equalled Derek Hampton’s record of 442 Whitby appearances on the night, led a morale-boosting speech which appeared to be working as Town began the half on top.
But clear-cut chances were hard to come by.
Despite camping in the Ferriby half, it was the hour mark before Dalton came close, driving across the face of goal from the right edge of the box after a neat early ball out of defence.
But the Blues were weakened 20 minutes from time, by the loss of lone striker Andy Campbell.
The former Middlesbrough marksman suffered a broken nose during an aerial challenge and was replaced by fellow forward Dave Southern.
Moments later, a foul on Beadle just outside the area gave the Seasiders a chance to reduce the arrears, but Leon Scott, returning to his favoured midfield role, curled the free-kick comfortably over the crossbar.
Southern then should have done better when Scott turned provider with a great inswinging cross, but the ex-Gateshead striker sent a diving header well wide.
Cassidy went for broke with three defenders for the last 20 minutes, as another debutant, right-winger Sam Hodgson, fresh from a scholarship in the US, replaced centre-half Kev Burgess.
For all the Seasiders’ hard work, the first time their goal was threatened in the second half, brought the fourth of the night, 13 minutes from time. A quick break saw White and Bolder work the ball from left to right for the unmarked Bradshaw to drive home his 21st goal of the season from inside the area.
Prolific ex-Cheltenham marksman Bradshaw then set up Wayne Brooksby to beat a marginal offside trap, round Campbell and slot home six minutes later.
Dave McTiernan replaced Dalton in the last three minutes but Town’s luck was not for turning. Batchelor beat a number of players on a rare lung-busting run but hammered over the top from 20 yards.
Within moments, United were back up the other end, with Whitby’s defence completely AWOL as Fry knocked the ball across the six yard box for Bolder to slide home the sixth from point blank range.
Whitby Town: D Campbell, Lyth, Scott, Hassan, Burgess (Hodgson 72), White, Dalton (McTiernan 87), Beadle (c), A Campbell (Southern 70), Leeson, Batchelor.
Subs not used: Craddock, Liversedge. Attendance: 204
North Ferriby 6 Whitby Town 0