Please note that there has been a fixture change, as our intended opponents, Witton Albion are involved in the FA Trophy, and as a fellow Northern Premier League side, we wish them well in their tie at National League North side Leamington. That would normally leave us with a blank Saturday, but the League have done us proud and have rearranged a fixture to now give us a home game. I hope fans have not made any plans thinking we were away as we now have a home fixture with Whitby. The original date for this game was January 12th, and the potential for a bad weather postponement causing Whitby an arduous midweek journey will certainly have gone down well with our East Coast opponents. Whitby were to have made the journey to Stalybridge but for Celtics Trophy involvement, so I think the League have made a very wise decision.

Our visitors appear to have gone against the trend of a reluctance for Northern League sides to join the pyramid. Historically the Northern League sides have shunned promotion into until the rules changed last summer forcing compulsory promotion Back in 1992-93, Whitby Town won the Northern League Championship for the first time in their history but due to circumstances beyond their control, the club were denied promotion to the Northern Premier League. Prior to that Whitby had been in the Northern League since 1926. The club, who were amateurs reached the Amateur Cup final at Wembley in 1965 losing 3-1 to Hendon.
1997 was perhaps their finest year, winning the Northern League and the FA Vase at Wembley. 11,098 witnessed a 3-0 defeat of North Ferriby, refereed by Graham Poll. The following season newly promoted to the Division 1 of the Northern Premier League (Unibond) they won the League with a 7-point margin. Since then, Whitby have established themselves as a Northern Premier League side.

This season sees Whitby in a mid-table position of 13th after 18 games. Looking only at their 9 away league games, they have been successful 3 times, at North Ferriby 1-0, Matlock 3-0 and Workington 2-1. They have drawn 1-1 at Scarborough and 0-0 at Marine. Defeats have been 0-2 at Basford, 1-4 at Nantwich and 2-3 at Grantham, and last Saturday 1-4 at Gainsborough. Their FA Cup run was ended at the first hurdle with a 0-1 away defeat at Northern League side Whitley Bay. They have certainly been given local away ties in the Integro League cup with success at Pickering 2-1 before losing out on penalties at Scarborough. Anyone who has drawn twice this season at Scarborough cannot be taken lightly.

So, on paper, we may have a tricky game, so it is important that you are aware of the change of fixtures and turn up in numbers to cheer Steve’s side on to victory. We need to build on our strong defensive performance at Lancaster and score some goals to reduce our goal difference column. We have a week’s rest prior to this game while Whitby have a county cup tie on Tuesday at home to Grangetown Boys Club. They are a step 7 side from the North Riding Football League, so Whitby, too may have had a week’s rest.

Games played on 24th November this century

2001 Welling Away 2-3 Southern League
2007 Ebbsfleet Away 1-2 Conference
2012 Southport Home 0-4 FA Trophy 1st round