The hosting Blues had all the fight, grit and determination that should come with a derby, but on a freezing afternoon at the Turnbull Ground, Boro didn't
Boss Steve Kittrick gave new boy Ryan Watson a debut, though it was a forced, last-minute decision as James Cadman pulled up pre-match.
Looking to halt their slide and grab the New Year's Day derby bragging rights, Boro certainly didn't make the start they wanted on a challenging surface.
The Blues looked hyped up for the fixture from the beginning and they made all the early running.
Former Boro man Leon Scott brought the first save out of keeper Tommy Taylor, while Ash Coffey caused continual problems.
Boro looked to hit their hosts on the counter and top scorer James Walshaw saw a couple of efforts blocked after wriggling into some space.
But it was Whitby who took a deserved lead after 25 minutes, a goal that Boro will look back on in dismay.
Somehow Coffey managed to bustle his way through the back-line before the ball broke to Gell. He steadied himself seven yards from goal and rolled home.
Boro looked to respond immediately, with Michael Coulson seeing a goal ruled out by the linesman's flag, Watson and Walshaw both stinging the palms of Whitby custodian Jack Norton.
There were a few more hairy moments at the other end in the moments that led up to the break, but Boro managed to survive these unscathed.
Boro looked to up their tempo when the second half started, but they soon found bogged down in the battle.
The concerning factor was that they continued to create little against a somewhat makeshift Whitby defence.
The killer strike was made in the last 20 minutes when Whitby's talisman Dale Hopson went down under challenge and the referee awarded a very soft penalty.
Hopson brushed off the clumps of mud and slotted his penalty into the bottom corner.
Boro were given a lifeline with 10 minutes left on the clock when sub Matty Bowman's cross was handled in the box.
Coulson also looked to pick out the bottom corner, but Norton read his thoughts and pushed the effort away.
In the end it could easily have been a three-goal cushion between the sides.
Hopson was picked out by a poor clearance from Taylor and the Whitby man lofted an effort at goal from all of 40 yards. With Taylor in no-man's-land, the ball struck the post and bounced to safety.
By then Boro looked a well beaten side and Whitby were left celebrating a very happy new year.