Whitby Town retain Mickey Skinner trophy

Whitby Town FC with the Mickey Skinner Trophy'picture: Brian Murfield
Whitby Town FC with the Mickey Skinner Trophy'picture: Brian Murfield
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Whitby Town held on to the Mickey Skinner Trophy against a valiant Guisborough Town side on Tuesday night.

The Priorymen had a great early chance as Mikey Roberts broke the offside trap, only to see his shot well saved by the legs of Blues keeper Shane Bland.

Graeme Armstrong slides in for Whitby's first goal at Guisborough'picture: Brian Murfield

Graeme Armstrong slides in for Whitby's first goal at Guisborough'picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby went up the other end and caused problems, though. Graeme Armstrong rode a number of tackles, before being brought down by Leon Carling. Craig Farrell lined up the free-kick and curled the ball low into the net, leaving Ben Escritt rooted to his line, just ahead of the 10 minute mark.

It wasn’t long before the Blues were heading forward again. Tom Portas earned a free-kick mid-way in the Guisborough half. Nathan Mulligan put a dangerous ball into the box, causing Escritt to flap, but Kev Burgess headed over from close range.

Guisborough had a golden chance to grab an equaliser. Whitby skipper Mark Robinson sold Richard Pell short with his pass, Danny Johnson nipped in, took the ball, and forced Bland into a smart save.

Just minutes later, the Priorymen had another fantastic chance. Gell beat Robinson for pace and cut the ball back to Johnson who missed the ball in a mix-up with Ibby Hassan.

The Blues soon doubled their lead, just ahead of the half hour. Dave McTiernan knocked the ball out wide to Shane Henry, who skipped past ex-Blue Tom Marron. Henry then dragged the ball across goal to Armstrong, who slid in from close range for 2-0.

The Blues continued pressuring the Guisborough defence, as the first-half wore on.

Just before half-time, some fantastic passing play nearly saw Whitby grab a third. Portas broke through midfield, giving the ball out wide to Mulligan. He skipped past one and dragged the ball back to Farrell, whose curling effort, from 18 yards, hit the crossbar.

Guisborough responded as efender James Risbrough broke through the middle, before seeing his 20-yard effort blocked by Burgess, ricocheting off his’ leg, forcing Bland into a reaction save with his legs.

The second half started in the same upbeat manner as Town went forward in numbers once again. McTiernan gave the ball to Portas, who ran at the defence, before finding Farrell, whose curling shot was stopped by the impressive Escritt.

McTiernan broke down the left, sending Farrell on a run. Farrell sent a heavy ball into the box, Henry flicked it back to Armstrong, who fired a half-volley, on the turn, at goal, again testing Escritt.

Despite the early-half pressure, though, the Priorymen never gave up. Just past the hour, some fantastic build-up play saw the ball fall to Danny Johnson, who forced sub keeper Mark Cook acrobatically into his first save of the night. The Blues then had their lead reduced just before the 70th minute.

Lewis Wood received the ball from Gary Wood and burst into the box, before going down under the challenge of towering Whitby centre-half Richard Pell for a penalty.

Paul Callan stepped up for the hosts, sending Cook the wrong way to pull a goal back.

The Seasiders had a chance to restore their two-goal lead as Farrell lined up another free-kick, from 30 yards.

Farrell looped the ball over the wall, nearly catching Escritt out, but the ex-Blue tipped the ball over the bar.

The resulting corner caused even more problems. Nathan Evans fired a ball low into the box, Steven Snaith dummied and it fell to the feet of Pell, who drilled a fierce effort at goal, forcing an impressive save from Escritt. Whitby captain Mark Robinson was nominated to take the trophy for the Blues, which was presented by the grandchildren of Mickey Skinner.

Whitby Town: Bland (Cook 45), Hassan, Robinson, Pell, Burgess, McTiernan (Wysocki 65), Henry (Dixon 65), Portas, Farrell, Armstrong (Snaith 65), Mulligan (Evans 59). Subs not used: Williams.

Guisborough Town: Escritt, Marron, Round, Carling, Risbrough, G. Wood (c), Gell, Callan, Roberts, Johnson, L. Wood. Subs: Mills, Hume, DeCosemo, Crawley, Wilson, Kelly, Hodgson (GK), Bonner, Clark.

Guisborough Town 1 Whitby Town 2