Whitley cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory on Good Friday in what sadly may turn out to have been their last local derby against West Allotment Celtic.
Unless negotiations with their landlords Northumberland FA prove successful, already relegated Allotment may drop out of the Northern League altogether next season.
This was a game where Whitley hardly had to break sweat to collect the points against an understandably lethargic Allotment side who were playing their third game in five days.
After Thibault Charmey had fired over the bar from Alex Kempster’s cross, Tom Potter rattled the Allotment bar in the seventh minute with a rasping 20 yard effort. Play rarely extended into the Bay half during the opening quarter of the game and on 14 minutes Whitley took a deserved lead, albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Potter’s right wing corner was not properly cleared and when it was played into the path of Charmey, the Frenchman’s powerful 20 yard shot took a deflection off defender Michael Hall and flew into the net past keeper Chris Bannon.
Whitley continued in the ascendency and after Liam Brooks sent a header over the bar, Kyle Patton was narrowly off target from Tom Gilbey’s cross.
The second goal came in the 33rd minute when Callum Anderson’s crossfield ball eluded the home defence leaving Kempster to run clear and slot past Bannon, with the ball going in off the far post.
Bay keeper Tom Flynn was a virtual spectator for much of the half as the hosts failed to make any impression and Whitley were good value for their two goal interval lead.
Allotment made all three substitutions immediately after half time and they did make an impact but Whitley still created the better chances. On the hour, only a fine one handed save from Bannon kept out a close range header from Anderson. Perhaps ease with which they were controlling the game led to a period where Whitley switched off and some rather sloppy defending let Allotment back into the game with 17 minutes remaining. Sub Luke Parkinson skipped past a casual challenge before delivering a cross into the box and when the ball was knocked clear, it fell perfectly for Craig Hindmarch who drilled it home from 15 yards.
Stirred back into action, Whitley ended any hopes the hosts might have had of rescuing a point with a third goal ten minutes from time. Alex Kempster in acres of space on the right whipped the ball into the goalmouth where substitute Callum Patton headed home with his first touch since coming off the bench 60 seconds earlier.
Without ever really getting out of first gear, Whitley had secured the three points, extending their unbeaten run to ten games. Victory in their final game at Penrith on Saturday would complete an excellent second half of the season and also guarantee a sixth place finish.
WHITLEY BAY: Flynn, Gilbey, McDonald, Haley, Anderson, Wilkinson, Potter(C Patton 79mins) , Charmey, Brooks(Robertson 65mins), Kempster, K Patton(Glen-Ravenhill 79mins)
Substitutes not used: Allen, Byerley
Cautions: Charmey, Kempster
Referee: Rebecca Welsh