Brave Whitby Town bow out of the FA Cup, losing 7-2 at League One outfit Bristol Rovers
The Seasiders, in the FA Cup first round proper for the first time in 20 years, found themselves on the back foot in the early stages with Rovers attacking from the get-go, writes Will Berwick.
And it wouldn’t take long until the home side opened the scoring. Jevani Brown would find himself in space in behind the Whitby backline and play the ball across the box for an unmarked John Marquis who would slot the ball home to make it 1-0 after six minutes. The goal stood despite a strong hint of offside.
Whitby were behind but not for long as they managed to win a free-kick where a long ball was played up towards Jerome Greaves who would powerfully knock it on to Junior Mondal. Mondal was switched on, contrary to the Rovers’ defence, and he found himself in acres of space before striking a beautiful low strike into the net leaving Matthew Cox no chance of saving it.
However, that was as good as it got for Whitby in the first half as the home side showed their class by taking control of the game with Luke Thomas dribbling past three Whitby players and guiding the ball past Shane Bland in goal to make it 2-1 in the 18th minute.
The third goal for the home side came immediately after with some sloppy defending from Town resulting in Coleby Shepherd failing to clear the ball which saw it fall to the feet of Jevani Brown who casually put the ball past Shane Bland.
Rovers would get a questionable penalty before half time which was calmly converted by Antony Evans, sending the home side into the half-time interval 4-1 to the good.
Whitby’s undisputed player of the match, Bland would pull off some fantastic saves after the interval to stop Rovers from running away with the game.
However, Whitby were given a lifeline when substitute Connor Simpson scored an outrageous goal from about 20 yards out. The Whitby Striker would hit the ball with such power and precision it went sailing past Cox in goal making the score 4-2 after 60 minutes, arguably the goal of the entire First Round and a strike that was worthy of applause all around the Memorial Stadium.
The Blues’ comeback charge wouldn’t last long as Harrison Beeden would unfortunately score an own goal after a powerful cross cannoned in off him.
Substitute Harvey Vale made it 6-2 with a right footed finish before Aaron Collins would finish the scoring off with a seventh for the home side.
Town Manager Nathan Haslam would reflect on the historic cup run and the exit and told The Whitby Gazette: “In the first half, we gave them (Bristol Rovers) too much respect.
“The gulf in class was evident. They used the ball well and got into the right areas. They were clinical we just weren’t ourselves. You could put it down to the levels and it was, but I still think we need to be braver.
‘’The second half performance showed that we were a lot braver, scored a worldie of a goal and at least we gave the fans something to shout about on the day.
‘’It was great at 1-1. You think come that the lads have gotten rid of stage fright and that we could maybe go for it. But it didn’t last long and they were clinical. They were brilliant.”