Bay finish season in third spot

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Whitley Bay rounded off the season with a good performance against Shildon, but after racing into a two goal lead, they had to withstand a spirited fight back before wrapping up the points.

He is now the fifth member of the current squad to have reached this landmark.

With the Shildon defenders having to contend with a low sun, Whitley started strongly and it took them only seven minutes to get their first goal, a timely boost having failed to score in their previous two games.

The goal came from a left wing corner by Paul Robinson with James Fairley firing home from four yards, the ball taking a deflection off a defender on its way into the net.

Four minutes later Chris Reid was close to adding a second goal, his shot from Fawcett’s cross going just the wrong side of the post.

Whitley were well on top at this stage and after 15 minutes they doubled their lead when Craig McFarlane’s cross-cum-shot from way out near the right touch line deceived Shildon keeper Keith Finch and flew over him, dipping into the far corner of the net. Whether intentional or not, McFarlane’s 23rd goal for the club continued his habit of scoring in spectacular style.

It was looking as if Whitley would be in for a very comfortable victory but Shildon had other ideas and soon reduced the deficit, Ben Wood striking an excellent 20 yard shot that beat the dive of Kyle Hayes and nestled in the far corner of the net.

The game evened out with Shildon enjoying their share of possession and after Robinson’s shot from Novak’s corner almost extended Whitley’s lead, the visitors very nearly levelled the score five minutes before the interval, Sam Hodgson’s long range shot crashing off the post and away from danger.

Paul Chow had not been able to make a real impact and along with Dillon Blake, he was substituted at half time, with Lewis Burns and David Pounder coming off the bench.

Despite the fact that there was nothing at stake for either side - Whitley were already assured of third place - there was plenty of effort during the second half with numerous goalmouth incidents at both ends.

The visitors wasted an excellent chance to draw level after 56 minutes when clear on goal, the ball was fired over the bar, then at the opposite end of the pitch brave defending saw shots from Brooking and Reid blocked by Finch and his defenders.

Ian Watson was then played through on goal but failed to test Finch with a shot beyond the far post.

Shildon’s impressive young striker Sam Garvie then burst through and looked sure to score but a great blocking save by Hayes kept him out and good defending by Whitley eventually saw the ball cleared to safety.

The save proved crucial as within a minute, the ball was in the Shildon net after Lewis Burns crossed from the left and David Pounder headed home from two yards to put Whitley 3-1 ahead with less than ten minutes remaining.

The game was now won but there was still time for the ever cheerful Finch to save a late effort from Fawcett.

At the final whistle, Bay fans gave their team a well deserved ovation while the leg weary players responded in style, returning to the pitch to applaud the fans on all sides of the ground.

Whitley Bay FC would like to thank match sponsors Hodgson Mazda for their support in this final game of the season.