Stourbridge 2, Whitby 1
CAPTAIN Sean Geddes capped a fine performance by firing Stourbridge to a deserved victory on the opening day of the season.
The Glassboys took all three points against Whitby Town at the Memorial Ground today thanks to the skipper's low strike in the last ten minutes.
It was no more than the home side deserved after an impressive first half performance that could have seen them go in two or three up at the break.
Instead they only had one goal to show for their dominance and potent attacking threat.
That came on the 19th minute mark when Jordan Fitzpatrick fired past Whitby keeper Shane Bland after collecting in the box following good work down the left flank from star man Ben Billingham.
It was the direct running of Billingham and forward Kayelde Brown and the midfield guile of Geddes that had Whitby on the back foot for large parts of the first half.
Time and time again it was keeper Bland that had to keep them at bay. He saved from Geddes and Fitzpatrick to ensure his side were still in the contest.
Despite the best chance falling to Whitby's Lee Mason, who hit a tame effort at Stour keeper Coleman when through on goal, it was the Glassboys that dominated in most areas of the pitch.
However, it only took until the seventh minute of the second half for Stourbridge to rue not capitalising on their earlier dominance.
Whitby came out of the blocks quicker and soon found an equaliser when Liam Shepherd found enough time on the edge of the box to fire low past Coleman.
Suddenly the game had changed and Stourbridge were having to fight for every ball and were not enjoying the time they were afforded in the first period.
But as the Amblecote outfit looked to assert themselves once more, it was Bland that stood in their way.
On 56 minutes, he pushed a curling Billingham effort around the post and later denied a second for Fitzpatrick.
Whitby defender Kevin Burgess looked lucky to stay on the field when he appeared to kick out at Billingham after the Stour man had fouled him on the hour mark.
Instead it was Billingham that went into the book for the initial challenge.
Burgess, already on a booking, could then have been given his marching order after bringing down substitute Morgan-Parker after he'd knocked the ball beyond him.
Once again the referee kept his card in his pocket as the Memorial Ground faithful called for a red.
With time running out and Whitby keeper Bland in fine form it looked like the Glassboys might be left frustrated.
That was until Billingham nipped in ahead of Burgess down the right flank and crossed for Geddes in the area.
He took a touch and fired a low drive into the back of the net via a slight deflection from the Whitby defender.
The home side then kept the ball well to see out the contest and get their Northern Premier League campaign off to a winning start.
In the end, it was exactly what they deserved for an encouraging display that manager Gary Hackett will look to build on when they travel to Ilkeston on Monday.
Stourbridge: Coleman, Fitzpatrick, Richards, Ramsey-Dickson, Geddes (c), Harris (Smikle 65), Haynes, Broadhurst, Brown (Morgan-Parker 82), Billingham, Canavan (Rock 89).
Unused subs: Dallison, Francis.
Whitby: Bland, Hassan, Robinson (c) (Pell 87), Burgess, Bullock, Waters, Brown (Calvert 69), Gardner, Farrell, Mason, Shepherd (Callaghan 77).
Unused subs - Poole, Campbell.