Boss Nathan Haslam lifted by Whitby Town’s second-half show in 4-2 loss at leaders South Shields
In front of over 2,300 supporters at the 1st Cloud Arena, Town were carved open three times in the first half before putting in a much more positive showing in the second 45 minutes - grabbing two goals of their own, writes Liam Ryder.
Following this match, Haslam applauded his charges for their second half performance against the Mariners.
“We were severely depleted,” he told The Whitby Gazette. “We went with a system that we’ve not gone with all season.
“At 3-0 down you’ve got a mammoth task to come back into the game.
"At half-time I asked the lads to have lots of courage and to be fair to them, we were the better team in the second half so credit to them.”
It very much came down to individual and collective errors in terms of the goals conceded, albeit against a full-time outfit who have the ability to press high for sustained periods.
“The first goal was schoolboy from our point of view,” Haslam said. “Lewis Hawkins held his hands up for the second goal.
“It was a simple pass to the left-back but their lad intercepted it.
“These things happen and no one’s going to get chastised for it.
"It’s just so happened that it was against a side who are top of the league. They like presents like that.”
Marske United are next up for Whitby as they visit the Towbar Express Stadium @ The Turnbull Ground for a 3pm kick-off on Monday, January 2.
The teams have faced each other twice this season already, with the reverse league fixture finishing 0-0 at Mount Pleasant in August, and Marske claiming a 1-0 victory in the Emirates FA Cup a month later.
“We’re fully focused on Marske now,” said Haslam. “They’re below us, albeit with games in hand, and they’re going through a tough time.
"We’ve been through the same tough time and we’re still amongst it.
“We need to be on it against Marske on Monday - we need to perform like we did in the second half against Shields.
“If we do that, there’s every chance that we’ll come away from the game with all three points.”
Haslam, who had a brief spell at Marske, is also hoping to have a couple of players back who missed out at South Shields last Monday, particularly at full-back.
“We’ve unfortunately lost Soni Fergus long term,” the Town boss said. “We’ve brought Andre Bennett in but he’s perhaps not quite up to speed just yet but he will get there.
“To lose Coleby Shepherd due to illness at Shields left us short but he should be back.
“I don’t think the lads who filled in did a bad job to be fair. It’s a squad game and we’ll hopefully also have Harry Green back from illness.”
A bumper crowd is expected on Bank Holiday Monday so supporters are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance from whitbytownfc.com.