FOR the 300 inside Sandy Lane on Wednesday night there was just one question to be asked – why can’t Worksop Town win at home?
Answers on a postcard to WTFC, Babbage Way, S80 1UJ, preferably before Saturday’s visit of Kendal Town.
The side who thrashed top sides like Hednesford and Nantwich away from home, the side who beat league leaders Marine away on Saturday, that side doesn’t come to Sandy Lane.
On Wednesday, the imposters who masquerade as Worksop Town, those who lost 3-2 to Eastwood seven days prior, they showed up and they lost again, 1-0 to struggling Whitby Town.
Perhaps it’s the expectation that comes with playing on your own ground, maybe it lies too heavily on the shoulders of the players.
Maybe the home support, with that fickle minority who bawl and shout the odds when things go even slightly wrong, are intimidating for the squad.
Is it that they can’t break down sides who come to defend, but they can counter attack to their hearts content away from home?
In this game Whitby did come to defend, and they did it well.
But for the opening few minutes, it was the visitors who applied themselves more effectively going forward.
Shane Henry had Whitby’s first effort, a low drive from 25 yards that Paul Bastock held.
On seven minutes Craig James fired in a free-kick, after Tom Denton handballed, and Bastock was equal to the effort.
And the Seasiders’ early dominance continued when Kern Miller gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box and James blasted it into the mix, Nathan Mulligan unable to direct his header.
A scrappy phase of play on 16 minutes finally gave Tigers a chance, and almost a goal.
Lee Beeson intercepted the ball, drove to the right and slid it back to Leon Mettam, the little striker shooting just wide.
On 23 minutes a cracking turn and burst of acceleration took Ryan Clarke to the edge of the box where he found Tom Denton, and keeper Nick Liversedge tipped his shot round the post.
Without creating too much, Worksop got on top for the next quarter of an hour, but an inability to hold the ball up front let the visitors off the hook.
Six minutes before the break a fine charge by Owain Warlow, who had just been booked for a late tackle, was halted illegally and Beeson’s free-kick fizzed but was held by Liversedge.
The ball broke to Steve Towers 30 yards out and he sent a searing right foot shot the wrong side of the post.
Having struggled throughout the first half, Mettam limped off a minute before the break, Ash Burbeary coming on.
Emerging for the second period, Worksop set off brightly, Burbeary smacking the ball from 25 yards and watching as it just cleared the bar.
On the hour mark, following a good spell for the hosts, Beeson’s cross fell to Ryan Ludlam who had his shot blocked, and King sliced his volley well wide when very well placed.
King did well to skip away from his marker and his ball in found Denton, but the targetman couldn’t get any power on the shot.
Despite their dominance, Tigers fell behind on 64 minutes.
A corner was swung in left footed, Beeson miskicked horribly at the front post and Nathan Mulligan had a simple tap in with Bastock beaten.
With Tigers lacking bite up front and Whitby remaining resolute, that was all she wrote for this game.
Simon Clark made his last throw of the dice with a double switch on 71 minutes L’Heureux Menga taking King’s place and Chris Wood replacing Kern Miller, Tigers going with three at the back.
Worksop could probably have played all night without scoring, there was only a Burbeary header that was partially blocked for home fans to get excited over, in fact Whitby created the last few chances, including a penalty appeal that was turned down and deemed a dive by the referee.
The full-time whistle was greeted by a subdued response from a crowd left scratching their heads at another inept home performance.
Worksop: Bastock 7, CLARKE 7, Warlow 6, Young 5, Ludlam 6, Miller 5 (Wood 71), Beeson 4, Towers 6, Denton 5, Mettam 4, King 5 (Menga 71). Not used: Hawes, Telling.
Whitby Town: Liversedge, James, Corker, Burgess, White, McTiernan, Portas, Henry, Mulligan, Armstrong (Snaith 73), Hassan. Not used: Williams, Tait, Robinson, Campbell.
Referee: N. Guest. Assistants: B. Cass, S. Hall.
Goalscorers: Mulligan 65.
Yellows: Warlow 36, Ludlam 86; Mulligan 90.