Making a couple of changes from the side defeated in midweek at Liversedge, Neal Bishop changed the shape of his side, as well as handing a rare start this campaign to roving full back Prosper Keto. Bailey Conway was also restored to the starting line up, with Jamie Bramwell omitted from the sixteen, and Curtis Durose dropping to the bench for the first time since August.
A tepid first half saw a couple of half chances fall the way of the hosts. A short free-kick after Liam Waldock was felled on the edge of the box, saw Harry Lewis nudge the ball to Jay Glover. The on loan Owl hit the target, but Shane Bland was able to gather comfortably. Looking to play through the thirds, Dylan Cogill located Waldock, and Trinity’s talisman was able to open up the field, inviting Keto forward down the right, from Keto’s cross, Clayton Donaldson was unable to glance his header on target.
Midway through the first half, some neat approach play to the final third, just lacked the final touches. Keto then released Donaldson with a quick throw down the right, the Don doing brilliantly to get to the byline, his pull back finding Harry Lewis in space on the edge of the box, but the on loan Scunthorpe United man saw his effort blocked out, with Bland sweeping round to tidy up the danger.
At the other end, Hayden Cann had to be across to cover defensively as Whitby threatened to get in behind. The young centre half having to concede the first corner of the after, which Trinity dealt with, Glover alert to clear the danger. Joseph West then picked out Donaldson, only for Gainsborough’s veteran number nine to be denied brilliantly by Bland. The ‘keeper doing brilliantly, he made himself big at his near post, spreading himself at point blank range to keep the scores level.
From the subsequent corner, Harry Lewis’ devilish ball into the box was juggled by Liam Waldock who poked goal-wards. As that man Donaldson looked to pull the trigger, Whitby’s clearance cannoned off Dylan Cogill, looping up and over the bar – the sort of thing, that when things are going for you – fly into the back of the net… but when things aren’t dropping…
Whitby were growing into the game and looking a threat on the counter attack, but in truth, the Holy Blues were able to deal with the opposition threat before the Seasiders got in sight of Matt Yates’ goal.
Half time: Gainsborough Trinity 0 Whitby Town 0
Shortly after the restart, Sponsors Man of the Match, Bailey Conway picked up a caution for his side. Aaron Haswell looked to break on the defensive line, but Conway halted the progress of the Whitby midfielder. Harry Green stepping up to fire the resultant free-kick goalwards. With the ball moving everywhere, Yates was able to gather at the second attempt.
A free-flowing move down the left saw West whip in a cross, Bland flapping at the cross underneath his crossbar, but Trinity couldn’t capitalise on the ‘keepers’ hesitance.
Inventively, Keto then looked to scoop a ball into the path of Donaldson, but Bland swept round on the cover. Malik Dijksteel then tested Yates following clever play from Green, as Whitby served a warning that they weren’t here to make up the numbers. A warning not heeded by the boys in blue.
With the scores level, a quarter of an hour into the second half, boss Neal Bishop rolled the dice with a double change, switching both wing backs as he withdrew Joseph West and Prosper Keto, opting for the more attacking double act of Fraser Preston and Curtis Durose, but as his side adjusted to the new personnel, and positional re-jig, Harry Green took full advantage for the visitors.
Producing the game’s only real moment of quality, he danced down the right and picked out Fewster, with a smart cutback to the edge of the six yard box, and Fewster’s finish high into the roof of the net gave Yates no chance.
Glover worked Bland from a routine effort, as Trinity tried in vain to open up the Whitby rearguard. Cann then powered a diving header a yard wide of Bland’s goal, from Lewis’ corner. The Trinity faithful taking a joint intake of breath, expecting the net to bulge.
Despite the need for a goal, urgency was lacking. Little in the way of breaking down a stubborn Whitby defence, as for large parts, Bland’s goal was not under threat. As time ticked in to stoppage time, Cann lacked composure when following good play to work the free man on the right, the versatile Lincoln City loanee lacked the finesse to trouble Bland.
Finally, three minutes into second half stoppage time, substitute Fraser Preston had the chance to level things, but Aaron Cunnigham recovered brilliantly to preserve the Whitby clean sheet and ensure Whitby headed home with all three points in the bag. Preston finding himself bearing down on goal, seemingly wanted to take an age to pick his spot, allowing the recovery tackle – and with that – depriving Trinity of an equaliser.
An unwanted slide, but little time to dwell, as the fixtures follow quickly, with Curtis Woodhouse’s Marske United in town on Tuesday night. The Holy Blues quickly back out on the grass – and looking to halt the run that threatens to derail the early season optimism.
Matt Yates, Prosper Keto (Curtis Durose 62) Joseph West (Fraser Preston 62) Isaac Rice, Hayden Cann, Dylan Cogill, Bailey Conway, Jay Glover (Jack Dyche 80), Clayton Donaldson, Liam Waldock, Harry Lewis
Subs not used: Andrew Wright, George Hornshaw
Shane Bland, Priestley Griffiths, Coleby Shepherd, Adam Gell, Aaron Cunningham, Harrison Beeden, Aaron Haswell, Lewis Hawkins, Bradley Fewster (Connor Simpson 85) Mallik Dijksteel (Jacob Day 62) Harry Green (Aaron Braithwaite 75)
Subs not used: Jos Storr, Daniel Rowe
Referee: Alex Sawden
Sponsors Man of the Match awarded to Bailey Conway
Match report written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photos: Kate Simmonds (@KLSMediaUK)