Below-par Whitby Town start 2022 with 2-0 loss at Morpeth Town
Whitby Town were beaten 2-0 by Northumberland outfit Morpeth Town on New Year's Day.
Andrew Johnson fired in the opener towards the end of the first half for the Highwaymen in controversial circumstances, with Jack Foalle adding a second with a neat finish with the clocking ticking towards the 90th minute, writes Liam Ryder.
The hosts were reduced to ten men in stoppage time when Sean Taylor was rightly dismissed for a reckless challenge on Soni Fergus, before then placing his hands around the neck of Josh MacDonald.
Summing the game up, joint-manager Nathan Haslam described the performance as "abject", going on to add: "There was no aggression in our game and Morpeth were worthy 2-0 winners."
Ryan Donaldson had the best first half chance for Morpeth, but under pressure from Jameel Ible, he fired over the bar from inside the area.
But Whitby went close themselves in the 20th minute, Jacob Hazel seeing his left-footed strike deflected behind for a corner which came to nothing.
And with 37 minutes gone, Whitby could have been ahead when Bradley Fewster latched onto a through ball but could only fire over the bar.
Lee Bullock and Haslam's side were aggrieved moments later as they were denied a free-kick for handball, only for Morpeth to go down the other end and take the lead. Despite protests, referee Stephen Dial was unmoved.
Speaking about the goal, Haslam said: "The referee's said to me that it was handball but he didn't merit is as enough to stop the game.
"Ultimately they're still 100 yards away from our goal. There have been a few things that have gone wrong in terms of us not stopping the ball into the box and players not being in position. We switched off."
Whitby made a brighter start to the second half with Fewster calling Daniel Lowson into action with a low strike which was comfortably held.
But that was the only major threat to Lowson's goal with the Seasiders struggling to create chances in front of goal throughout the remainder of the half.
And the game was wrapped up nine minutes from time when Foalle swept the ball home after a quick attacking move from the hosts.
"The second goal killed the game off," Haslam said. "We never really looked like scoring if truth be told, but it was a great whipped ball in from their point of view and Foalle's finished it well.
"You can't really do a lot about them and it was definitely game over at that point."
But an ill-tempered game wasn't done in terms of action as Taylor received his marching orders in stoppage time. This was the eleventh card to be dished out in the game.