Kendal Town 2
Whitby Town 4
Evo-Stik Premier Division
Kendal Town’s fragile defence was exposed as they went down 4-2 to fellow strugglers Whitby Town.
The seasiders had the run of the Black and Whites in midfield and sloppy defending formed the bedrock of success for Whitby.
Kendal started the stronger for the first 20 minutes in what began as a cagey affair, Kevin Leadbetter having a shot after good build-up play from Sefton Gonzales and Alex Taylor.
Debutante Joe Bunney, signed from Lancaster City today (Tuesday), had an air shot in a decent position from a Leadbetter corner and on the quarter hour mark a great block by Craig James denied Bunney as he struck from the edge of the box. Rory Winters was unable to connect to the resulting corner from the back stick as the ball evaded everyone.
But Kendal’s 4-3-3 formation, which worked to perfection against Ashton United last week, started to fall apart as Whitby took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Tom Portas was one of the midfielders who took advantage, drawing a good low save from Craig Dootson in the 19th minute. His central midfield partner Shane Henry, another who shone, had his shot from the edge of the box deflected a couple of times, but luckily for Kendal the ball only went for another corner which came to no avail.
Henry totally missed the ball from a cross into the box a few minutes later – had he controlled it down he would have had a great opportunity, and then his effort on 26 minutes was spilled by Dootson but two Whitby players couldn’t connect to the rebound and Kendal held on.
But 39 minutes was the time when the away side took a deserved lead. The impressive Henry played a simple ball for Graeme Armstrong and the striker turned and slotted the ball into the net to make it advantage Whitby.
The second half began with a bang two minutes in when Kendal’s Bunney drew the score level in spectacular fashion. His shot from fully 40 yards out left keeper Nick Liversedge helpless as the ball smashed into the top corner in what was a world-class strike.
In the 56th minute the Black and Whites hit the front. Leadbetter’s corner looked like it was going straight in but the defender on the near post headed away. However the ball could only reach Kendal skipper Marc Joseph, whose first-time shot rifled into the back of the net as the home side went 2-1 up.
But the lead lasted less than a minute as Steven Snaith’s shot trickled towards the net. Paul Alexander tried to slide-tackle the ball off the line but his attempted clearance rebounded off the post, hit him and went into the net as Whitby drew parity.
And it got worse on the hour mark when Armstrong got past his man on the right edge of the box, and his ball into the danger area was converted with a straightforward tap-in by Nathan Mulligan from a few yards out to make it 3-2 to Whitby.
Joseph tried to haul Kendal level as he put himself about in the box from a Leadbetter free kick, but a Whitby defender just got his header in to divert danger.
And Whitby secured the points in the 75th minute. Armstrong headed a free kick 10 yards out and it originally looked like the ball was going wide, but the spin and loop on the ball, combined with the Parkside Road pitch made wet and greasy from the torrent of rain pounding on it all game, diverted the ball past Dootson, who could do nothing to stop the ball squirming into the corner of the goal.
Leadbetter had a shot across the face of the goal two minutes later and as the game reached the end of normal time, Bunney shot inches wide, but had the ball gone in it would have been disallowed for offside.
Dootson did well when he saved substitute Jordan Hughill’s effort onto the bar in injury time but Kendal didn’t threaten again and this loss means the Parkside Road outfit are now 19th in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Craig Dootson, Naim El-Harrati, Paul Alexander, Rory Winters, Marc Joseph (c), Adam Birchall, Jack Cook, Alex Taylor, Joe Bunney, Sefton Gonzales, Kevin Leadbetter.
Subs: Scott Harries for Gonzales (45)
Subs not used: Ian Kilford, Alex Ralph, Jordan Tucker, Josh Welsby
Yellow cards: Kevin Leadbetter
Key man: Joe Bunney: Made an impressive debut by scoring an absolute screamer and the Whitby defenders were terrified of him.
Liversedge, Hassan, Robinson (c), Burgess (Corker 45), James, McTiernan, Portas (Tait 79), Henry, Snaith (Hughill 78), Armstrong, Mulligan.
Subs not used: Williams, Campbell
Yellow cards: McTiernan